n the present day Nigeria, the Almajiri system of education has spread its tentacles across the Northern area in its entirety. The 19 Nigerian states of the Federation that make up the Northern part of Nigeria popularized this problematic style of Quranic instruction.
However, given the country’s security situation, some states such as Benue, Plateau, Kogi, and Kwara, to name a few from the Northcentral geopolitical zone, may have enabled this “hot buttoned” adopted form of schooling in this present generation.
Almajiri is more than simply a culture; it is a way of thinking about getting information from afar. Frequently, they travel from villages to cities in order to embrace Qur’anic teachings. It is reasonable to suppose that the system is exclusively for Muslims who believe that acquiring knowledge is Allah’s (that is, God in Islam) most important mission for every human being. It has now become a Q&A site for intellectuals. With the shambolic way through which the Almajiri culture of Quranic education is performed here in Nigeria, how accurate is this reality and mandate?
Several studies have revealed that this “dirty” Quranic instruction was also adopted in other African countries, including Niger, Mali, Chad, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and others. Because the scheme’s goals and objectives tend to be blessings for individuals under the age of 18, it also puts them in danger. The majority of their study activities last between 8 and 10 hours per day. Thursdays and Fridays are their relaxation days, serving as a personal opportunity for them to review what the teacher taught them earlier in the week.
Do you know what these minors do for a living, besides from learning how to memorize the Quran? These small youngsters must become ardent beggars in order to survive. Apart from receiving Quranic instructions, these children go door to door in their host community, begging for clothing and food. Majority of the time, these children are enslaved and used as errand boys and slaves in return for clothing and food. In exchange for domestic services, leftover foods and worn-out clothes may be provided to these children. Despite the fact that they provide these services, some of them are employed for sexual gratification, money rituals, and terror actions.
Perhaps some criticisms.
During the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020, a report surfaced during the period of national lock-down. According to this study, hundreds of little children in northern states such as Sokoto, Kaduna, and Kano had contracted the fatal Covid-19 virus. In fact, it got to the point where the governments of these states formed an evacuation strategy for these small children to leave their jurisdiction. Unfortunately, this culture continues unaffected by the simplicity of lock-down, with little regard for the potential threat that lies ahead.
Aside from the Covid-19 threat, numerous members of the country’s elite have challenged the country’s aberrant Qur’anic education culture based on certain facts and projections. According to UNICEF, 13 million Nigerian children are out of school, and Nigerians account for one out of every five out-of-school children worldwide.
Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Former Emir of Kano, has expressed his displeasure with the scheme, claiming that the Almajiri system of education has resulted in Nigeria becoming one of the world’s least developed countries in recent years. The deposed Emir chastised the northern aristocracy for enabling this generation to grow up with such a filthy culture.
One could argue that his honesty was the reason for his deposition. His dethronement was politically motivated by the current Kano State Government, and because his Grandpa was also dethroned from the same throne, it has now become a generational curse for his lineage.
When looking at the Almajiri system critically, the society cannot ignore the fact that the culture has a lot of things to do with child labor and slavery, both of which are illegal under the country’s constitution. Free education should be provided as a right to every citizen of Nigeria, according to section 18 of the 1999 constitution as amended, but this is not the case in the Almajiri educational system. Furthermore, according to several portions of the Universal Basic Education Act (UBE), it is criminal for parents to never allow their children to attend a school for Western education.
We may therefore infer that Nigeria is a lawless country, because everything centered on the Almajiri method of Quranic instruction is in direct violation of the law.
Several Nigerians have proposed some sensible and plausible methods for eradicating the dreadful Almajiri educational system, but I doubt that the kind of governance we have in Nigeria would appropriately consider such initiatives.
Although certain Northern Nigerian states, such as Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, and others, have enacted legislation prohibiting the unclean culture. It is not a new occurrence for certain Nigerian state governments to be very busy when it comes to paperwork but then fall silent when it comes to policy implementation.
To leverage this tragic scenario, the immediate past Federal Government administration led by Former President Goodluck Jonathan built over 140 new schools in northern Nigeria for the Almajiri students. This took place seven years ago.
One of the goals of the previous administration was to carry out a project like this that focuses on the less fortunate young Nigerians, such as establishing a school that will accommodate both Qur’anic and Western education for these Almajiri youngsters in a congenial environment.
When former President Goodluck Jonathan lost his re-election bid to incumbent President General Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election, it was like a bitter honey for Nigerians. Nigerians overwhelmingly voted him out of power due to his inability to address the country’s severe insecurity challenges at the time.
As soon as he lost the presidential election and General Buhari was sworn in, some of his projects and programs were put on hold, affecting all of the facilities his administration constructed to address the issue of child labor and out-of-school children during his reign. In fact, all of these structures are now in a state of disrepair, resembling a burned-out palace.