Not All Child-Beggers Are Almajiri From North, Says Islamic Commission

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From Ankeli Emmanuel, Sokoto

Executive Secretary, Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Commission, Ahmed Baba Alitine, has said not all children begging on the streets of Sokoto are almajiri, stating that some are victims of insurgency and other circumstances from other states or within. 

Altine, who spoke at a 2 day training for stakeholders, Malams and owners of Qur’anic schools in Sokoto, noted that they must come together to correct the negative narratives about almajiri form of education.

According to him, the long neglect by stakeholders in the region to properly plan and address how the almajiri system of education should be modernized has led to some level of stereotype on the average northerner. He therefore called on all and sundry to embrace the training by UNICEF and the European Union and make positive change in the entire process. 

The 2 day training as organized by the Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Commission  is in collaboration with UNICEF and the European Union, with the theme, “Child Protection and Child Safeguarding Policy'”.

Alitine disclosed that the Sokoto State government gives some form of stipends to qua”ranic teachers in the state as a means of assisting them monthly.

Altine called on Islamic teachers that are not beneficiaries of the state government gesture to bring forth their complaints to be included subsequently. 

He appealed to participating Malams and other stakeholders to genuinely give useful advice to the commission on how best to change the negative narratives about Almajiri pupils. 

Addressing participants on “Child rights, child protection and child justice administration.  the facilitator,  Prof Mohammed Tabiu (SAN) took them though the 2021 Sokoto state child protection law, stating that the rights of the child includes parental guidance, protection, direction, reasonable supervision and control, among others.

Prof Tabiu further noted that the Islamic law has adequate provisions for child protection ranging from those “”captured in the Sunna (traditions of the prophet, SAW)  and elaborated in the scholarly writings of Islamic jurists “”. 

He also noted some of the Islamic approach to child’s right to include legal protection, non-legal measures, moral responsibility as well as emphasis on natural family and reciprocity of rights and duties. 

“”By combining the influences of law, religion and ethics, Islamic law is able to put forward a multi-dimensional approach covering the total personality of the child “, Prof Tabiu submitted.

Earlier, Malam Abubakar Alhaji who is the Director/UNICEF Focal person for the  Commission, disclosed that 99 participants drawn from 8 local government areas of Sokoto State were in the 2-day training. 

He urged participants to make adequate use of lesson learnt to make better and informed decisions on how best to handle almajiri education in Sokoto State. 

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