By PATRICK SAM
Thirty-five thousand Almajiri children hitherto resident in Kaduna State, have been evacuated to 17 states across the country and some neighbouring countries, according to reports which quoted the state Commissioner for Humanitarian Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba.
The measure, she said, was part of the state government’s efforts toward ensuring that all children received both Quranic and western education under the care of their parents, adding that the ministry had sustained engagement with traditional leaders and relevant stakeholders in communities on the need for the children to be taken care of by their parents.
In the same vein, Baba said the Kaduna State government has also received over 1,000 Almajiri from other states, and the Ministry for Humanitarian Services was documenting, counseling, and providing basic healthcare to the Almajiri evacuated from other states with the support of UNICEF.
“This is crucial because apart from COVID-19, some of the Almajiri had skin diseases and other ailments that need to be treated before reuniting them with their families. Although enrolling the children into school is the responsibility of the ministry of education, the ministry of human services is currently assessing the state of Tsangaya schools across the state.
“We want to determine their proximity and suitability for enrolling some of the Almajiri living close to such schools where they will acquire both Quranic and western education”, Baba said, adding that the government would continue to take delivery of every Almajiri indigenous to the state and would continue to engage Islamic teachers as parts of community engagement.
Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i had recently warned that parents who enroll their children into the Almajiri education system stand the risk of prosecution and up to two years jail on conviction.
He said Almajiri children repatriated from other states of the country would be given all the opportunity they deserved to grow and develop. “We will continue to take delivery of every Almajiri pupil indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrollment into formal school nearest to where their parents live”.