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THE ALMAJIRI SYSTEM IN NIGERIA, A CURSE OR A BLESSING




The term “Almajiri” is a Housa word for pupil or student emanates from Arabic word ‘Almuhajir’ which means a seeker of of Islamic knowledge. In Nigeria, the word “Almajiri” means those who left their villages or town, parents, relations, and friends in search of Islamic religion.

                This system of education started in Nigeria in a town named Kanem-Borno, which had most of its rulers widely involved in Quranic literacy. Kanem-Borno is located in the northern part of Nigeria. The conquest of the Sokoto caliphate in 1903 and the deposition of sultan Attaluiru by the British forces of Frederick Lugard heralded the halt in sponsorship of the Almajiri system which was previously sponsored by the rulers, community and through zakkah.  The military conquest rekindled in the native population the century’s old rivalry between Christian and Muslim powers in their mortal struggle for supremacy throughout ages.

                With the loss of support from the colonial government, the helpless Emirs and increasing number of students to cater for, the care of the Almajiri become overwhelming burdensome for mallams who were left with no choice but to send these young pupils out to beg for arms.

                This new method is evident the bowl carrying children wandering the street in search of one thing or another. Begging is the most negative implication of the Almajiri system as it exposes the pupils to disturbing habits as they are exposed to morally deficient people such as prostitutes, cultists, ritualists, and terrorists’ e.t.c.

According to the national council for the welfare of the destitute "there are over 7 million children under the Almajiri system, A population which he says is a threat to the society and the children themselves. Ishaq Akintola also described the system as "escapist, retrogressive, counter-productive and inhuman. The inadequacy of the Almajiri system does not equip its millions of subscribers with the requisite skills to be in World thereby making them highly susceptible to terrorism and criminally as survival strategies.

A typical example of the negative impact of the Almajiri system in post-colonial Nigeria is the cast of Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko-Haram terrorist group who left home to become an Almajiri in maiduguri Borno state. This is according to Falmata Abubakar, who is Shekau's mother. In an exclusive interview granted to voice of America (VOA). She revealed that Shekau was an Almajiri who left home from their village in search of Islamic knowledge in maiduguri, northeast of Nigeria. Like most Almajiri lads, Abubakar ended up roaming the streets of urban centers begging for arms and food, and it was in maiduguri that he became in contact with Mohammed yusuf, the founder of Boko-Haram sect and got indoctrinated. In this sense, the Almajiri scourge laid the foundation for the dire terrorism of Boko-Haram by turning over socially displaced young men like Abubakar Shekau as easy prey for recruitment into the dreaded Islamist group.

In addition to raging insurgency, the status of the Muslim north as the most educational disadvantage past of Nigeria, with resultant ranking as the lowest in every available index of human development is a direct consequence of the Almajiri practice. What about its dire threat to our democracy bearing in mind the upcoming 2019 general election? We'll talk about that in my next writer up. Keep in touch.
         

End of part one.  

                                                                                                              Writing by Dadong Iliya Piyo
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