By Abdul Usman
Almajiris across the country have vowed to crumble the country over their alleged ill treatment in recent times.
The President of the National Centre for Quaranic Recitation, Sheikh Hassan Musa, revealed this on Friday.
Musa, who expressed the dismay of the Almajiris over the decision of the Governors from the 19 Northern States to relocate them, said: “Almajiris in Nigeria are over 16 million and in 2015, we supported the All Progressives Congress because Dame Patience, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s wife, insulted us.
“Although, she does not understand Hausa language, but the way she spoke about us then during the campaign for her husband’s second term presidential election, we felt very insulted. And that was the only reason we voted for President Muhammadu Buhari during the presidential election But now, we are treated this way. We agreed that Jonathan will not return and so we asked all the almajiris across the country to vote for Buhari and that is how he won the election, but this is what we are getting. All governments must handle the issue of the Almajiris in the country with caution because any Government that works against the system will surely be crumbled.”
Sheikh Musa, who stated this during the flag off and hand over by Niger State Government of Almajiri Isolation centre at Tudun Fulani Haji camp, Minna, the state capital, recalled how the Almajiris in the country used their votes to vote out Jonathan from power during the 2015 presidential election due to Patience’s derogatory utterances.
He further warned the political class in the country against toying with the issue of almajiris the way they are doing now, saying: “We will wait for them again in 2023. He said Clerics have agreed to allow the almajiris to be isolated and tested for the coronavirus disease, but added: “We are releasing these children to you on trust. If you fail us, we will get back to you.”
While expressing dissatisfaction at the way Almajiris are being handled and treated at the various isolation centres in the 19 northern states, he urged the Niger State Government to take good care of the children at the centre and that after two weeks ensure that they are transported safely back to their states.
The National President of the Quaranic Centre further pleaded: “These children from the 25 local governments will be brought to the Isolation centre and will now be in your care. Please, take adequate care of them and after two weeks, take them back to their families. Their mallams have released them to you and we thank the Niger State Government for the facility made available for them.”
Musa, however, frowned at the behaviour of some Almajiris, who instead of acquiring Islamic education go about begging for alms and foods.
He said: “The Almajiris are now a menace to Northern Nigeria. In the past, the Islamic education was important, but now, rather than learning, they about begging. It is very wrong.”
Speaking earlier, Secretary to the Niger State Government and Chairman Niger State COVID-19 Task Force, Ahmed Matane, stated that the isolation centre for Almajiris was set up based on the decision of the 19 Northern States Governors to send each of them back to their states of origin.
Matane said: “We decided not to rush to return the Almajiris to their States as other northern states did. We first consult with their Mallams before bringing them here. It is a clearly well defined protocol.
After government’s dialogue with the Mallams. So, government provided the centre and put in place everything to take care of them for the two weeks.”
Matane also noted the need not to play politics with the issue, saying: “The Almajiri system is a Northern Nigeria phenomenon.The North is being insulted for this.We are not stopping the system of education. They are everywhere. At the fuel stations, restaurants, bank ATMs, streets, not learning and we are saying this has to stop.
Matane further explained that the first set of 31 children to the centre were from Chanchaga Local Government, while those from the other 24 councils are being awaited.
In an interview session, Matane said the members of the National Assembly did not know the “embarrassment the issue of almajiri is causing state governments, which is why they asked that they should not be repatriated to their states of origin”.
He insisted on the implementation of the decision of the Northern States Governors Forum that the almajiris should return to their states of origin.
He said: “In Niger State, we are adopting an entirely different approach, which is why we are isolating them before sending them to their states of origin.”