The Executive Director of centre for Human Resource Development and Empowerment Initiative Kaduna Dr. Muhammed Ali(HRDEI), said the North didn’t need an ‘Almajiri Commission’, but a total ban on the almajiri practice.
Dr. Ali made this known while receiving Ayana Centre for Almajiri Development and Empowerment Initiative during a visit to his office on Sunday in Kaduna.
The bill to establish the commission to tackle Almajiri and other out-of-school children scaled second reading in the House of Representatives on Nov. 23.
The ‘kid beggars’, popularly known as ‘Almajirai’, are mainly students of the Qur’anic schools, better known as ‘tsangaya’ who are given to Malams (Islamic teachers) by their parents for the purposes of learning the Qur’an.
The Malams in turn, take them away from home to distant places without any provision for their boarding, feeding and even clothing by their parents, where they end up resorting to begging to make ends meet.
Ali explained that street begging, (Almajiri) is a social, economic and environmental menace highly visible in urban centres all over Kaduna State, with prevalence in the Northern part of the state.
He lamented that the current situation was worrisome because not only adult members of the population engaged in such acts, but even under aged children.
“Beggars pervade public places like markets, motor parks, religious centres, residential neighbourhood, ceremonial places and worse still, inside commercial buses.
“Begging, no doubt, is a downgraded act which leads to image tarnishing and loss of prestige of anyone engaging in it,” he said.
Ali also decried that some scholars, media practitioners and the general public had variously linked begging with Islam.
He also added that there was nothing Islamic about it; rather, a by-product of laziness, mental dependence and oppressive consciousness of those that engaged in it.
“Islam is both an intellectual tradition and a social movement and has provided principles and modalities by which one can earn a living but not through begging,” he stressed.
“There is no relationship that exist between Islam and begging. The problem of begging in Kaduna State, like in other states of Northern Nigeria, is rooted in the socio-cultural and socio-economic realities in the country.
“To ban the practice of begging, government must develop the moral courage to act and to also disabuse the minds of many Nigerians who think or believe that Islam approves of begging,” Ali said.