Bagudu seeks support for Almajiri, child abuse campaign

Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State has urged development organisations to support the state government’s campaign aimed at addressing the menace of Almajiri and child abuse.

Bagudu made the call while inaugurating a one-day seminar on child abuse and Almajiri syndrome, on Saturday in Birnin Kebbi.

The seminar with the theme: “Community Responsibilities to Build a Morally Sound Society,” was organised by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Women Commission, Kebbi State chapter.

Bagudu, represented Dr Isah Mohammed, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishment, Pension and Training, stressed the readiness of the state government to partner with TUC, Civil Society Organisations  (CSOs) and other  organisations to tackle the menace. 

He said government alone cannot address the menace, hence the need for collaborative approach to provide durable solution to the problem.

“The issue of Almajiri has been misconstrue; historically, Almajiri is an educational not beggers as people addressed them today.

“Almajiri is an Arabic word, it means a student who migrate seeking for knowlege. Today, the  has been totally changed to mean a beggar, this is actually a contradiction indicating something is wrong.

“What scholars used to do since the era of sheik Uthman Danfodio and other scholars of repute, a child will be attached to a scholar holding his books and going for errand because they didn’t have formal education like we have today,

“And parents choose to sent children on such occasion normally provided for all the needs of child (Almajiri) unlike what we are witnessing now,” he said.

The governor enjoined the organisers to invite Almijiri school teachers and the Almajiri to ease and transmission of core messages. 

“Even though, they don’t understand English language, messages can be translated to them in Hausa or Arabic,  so the aims and objectives of the programme will be fully achieved,” he said.

In her remarks, TUC’s  National Chairperson, Hafsat Shu’aibu said the theme of the seminar was apt especially now there were many challenges in the society.

Shu’aibu said much attention has been accorded to rape than issues of child abuse like Almajiri, adding children were being abused, raped, abducted and molested. 

“I want to appeal to all members of the society to see these problems as our own problems so collectively,  we can salvage the situation.

“As parents, please let us give birth to children we can take care of. Though I am not so learned to preach,  but may Allah forgive us all, no religion encourages people to give birth to kids they cannot cater for,” she said.

Shu’aibu identified lack of parental care as the main cause of rising criminality in the country, adding the society must rise up to the challenge.

She advised the organisers to take campaign to the grassroots where there were high of child abuse and other harmful practices against children.

Earlier,  Hafsat AbdulHamid-Jamoh, the Congress Chairperson in the state, said concerted efforts by stakeholders were imperative to protect children against abuse.

She said various programmes and sdvocacies were implemented to reform the Almajiri of education in the northern part of the country in the past four decades.

“Children are not suppose to beg for food and other essential needs, they are entitled to clothing, shelter, security, education from parents, relatives and state.” (NAN)