Some politicians and other Nigerians seeking an outright ban of the Almajiri system of education, and those calling for caution, may have the Koranic teachers to contend with, as strong indications arose on Thursday that the teachers, who are drivers of the system would resist attempts for an outright ban of the system.
Senate President, David Mark, and his colleagues on Wednesday called for an outright ban of the system.
Senators argued that the system was barbaric, unIslamic and had outlived its usefulness.
“We must admit that politicians in the North have failed over the years to stem the almajiri system.
“In fact, if anything else, it will appear that they have encouraged it or for political reasons they’ve been scared of making a comment on it.
“I think it’s a unique opportunity for governors in the northern region to ban the almajiri system today.
“It’s a system that is counter-productive, it is a breeding ground for irresponsible miscreants and we cannot tolerate it.
“I’ve heard that it is not an Islamic injunction, I think that system ought to have been banned long ago,” Mark said.
The Kano State government had on Tuesday signified its intention to ‘review’ the system, with some arguing that the government had ordered its outright ban.
A local koranic school teacher, in Hotoro area of Kano State, popularly called Malam Usman who spoke in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, on Thursday said an outright ban would be counter-productive.
In a telephone interview with PUNCH, a local koranic school teacher, in Hotoro area of Kano State, popularly called Malam Usman siad on Thursday that an outright ban would be counterproductive.
“While we accept that there have been problems with the system over the years, banning it completely will create more problems than it can solve,” he said.
“Islam says we should pursue education as far as Sin (China). What is wrong if a child leaves Maiduguri and comes to Kano or one leaves Kano to go to Maiduguri to study the Islamic way of life?
“Those calling for the ban are pursuing an agenda promoted by the Jews and westerners to halt the spread of Islam. We cannot be deceived.”
However, a social critic, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said there was nothing Islamic about begging and the entire almajiri system.
“There is nothing, absolutely nothing Islamic about begging,” Junaid said.
“There is nothing Islamic about the so-called Almajiri system. In fact, calling it an almajiri system is an abuse of language. When you talk about something called a system, it pre-supposes some order, some coherence, and some social goal.
“I have seen no evidence that this thing serves any useful purpose in any country in the third millennium.
“I am not aware that in the Koran or the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) there is such a thing as a system whereby people are ordained or pre-ordained to be beggars or social parasites on other people.
“Islam envisages a situation where people can be in some form of economic distress whether they are grown ups, whether they are travelers or children.
“However this does not justify making a profession out of begging.”
He agreed to the fact that situations where children born without means or orphaned without the privilege of being educated or catered for may be faced with difficulties in getting the basic necessities of life, but that is no excuse for begging.
Junaid said, “Prophet Mohammed himself was an orphan, his parents died when he was a very young person but he was not a beggar.
“When he was of age he became a shepherd to a woman who had a lot of camels and sheep. He later married that woman.
“Therefore, any attempt to justify begging is nothing but hypocrisy and an effort to turn some young people into a reservoir of cheap labour for some local malams.”
He also expressed the view that whether or not Islam sanctioned begging, Nigeria had enough resources to educate its growing population if it cuts down on corruption.
“Nigeria has the means to allow every child to be educated in the first 12 years and that is a provision of the United Nations system.” He declared.
As a way out of the lingering crisis, Junaid said, “The mallams should be paid to give these children education on the condition that they do not exploit these children for labour or s*x or anything else and they also must combine the eastern education which is purely Islamic with Western education.”