Nigerian Northern Governors Owe Nigerians An Apology For Allowing Mass Movement Of Almajiri Amid Lockdown

The recent mass ‘unwanted, exodus of northern Almajiri into other parts of Nigeria has become a very worrisome trend that has even overwhelmed security forces.

At the last count, over 300 northerners have been caught entering one state or the other illegally and with the deadly pandemic, this movement is one of the most foolhardy decisions taken by these miscreants.

Getting to the roots of this Almajiri system in Nigeria, we have to understand that in earnest, Almajiri didn’t quite start off on a bad note. 

Taking the history of a boy called Alhassan into pes[active, Ahassan was the great grandfather of the richest man in Africa today, Alh Dangote and history tells us Alhassan lived as an Almajiri, shuttling between Accra, Ghana and Nigeria where he met several Islamic teachers who he learnt from. He also learnt the rudiments of trade during these frequent journeys.

The word “Almajiri” is gotten from the Arabic word “Al muhajirun”, meaning an emigrant. It denotes a scholar who moves from his locality to meet a popular teacher in the quest for Islamic knowledge. 

This is the basis of the Almajiri system in what has become Northern Nigeria.

Years before British colonization, Kanem-Borno Empire had a system called the Tsangaya. This was a very coordinated and comprehensive system of learning Islamic principles, values, jurisprudence and theology.

Unlike today, the pupils lived with their parents/guardians for moral upbringing those days, and all the Islamic schools were located within the pupil’s immediate environment

It is worthy of mention that this system produced the judges, clerks, and teachers who provided the colonial administration with the needed staff.

The first set of colonial staff in Northern Nigeria was provided by the Almajiri schools.

Sadly, the case of the Almajiri in Nigeria is more of an old glory as the situation has so much deteriorated.

Remembering Goodluck Jonathan and his drive to take the Almajiri off the street, It is worthy of note that the over N15Billion worth of Almajiri schools in the North are currently in ruins.

Although some foresighted governors have renovated some of the schools and remodeled it not as an Almajiri school, but as a conventional educational institution.

The main reason in which the schools were built in the first place, the Almajiri are of course, back in the streets as the government has totally forgotten about them

Since the start of this pandemic, Northern governors have made it a point of duty to deport and counter deport these helpless kids from one state to another.

Most of them may have had reasons for running away so far from home especially with the terrorism acts that have become so rampant, these kids may have sought refuge in other states.

Sending them back might be passing a death sentence on them. 

This and other reasons may be the main cause of the massive influx of these Almajiri to southern Nigeria as this pandemic worsens.

While trying to lockout imminent threats, some governors have unknowingly let in massive health threats by the form of this Almajiri.

Just two days ago, Kaduna state governor, Mallam Elrufai shocked Nigerians when he announced that 50 Almajiri kids had arrested positive to the dreaded coronavirus. 

Katsina had also received 435 Almajiri recently sent back by the Kano state government, Kaduna returned 40 to Kebbi state, Kano had also sent 524 back to Jigawa state. 

The question then arises, what has the government of this region been doing?

Right now, most of these Almajiri who have rather refused to go back to their original locality have made it down to the south.

Just yesterday, the Abia State Ministry of Homeland Security intercepted a group of Almajiris loaded with cattle in the same truck headed to Abia.

The same issue was reported last month in delta state as some boys were seen packed with cows in a trailer about entering Delta state, the swift action of the COVID-19 enforcement team noticed the irregularity and stopped them in their tracks, they were not allowed to enter the state.

Lagos state also witnessed this same unholy exodus as a trailer from Zamfara state packed with cows and about forty people was intercepted at the Berger end of Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Monday. The security team would have none of that as the trailer and all its occupants were ordered out from the state.

For how long will this continue before the northern region puts its house in order?

The whole country cannot suffer for the mistakes and irresponsibility of a particular region. 

For the fact that Kaduna state witnessed over 50 COVID-19 positive cases form the aAmajiri is enough reason to label this unholy exodus as a nationwide disaster waiting to erupt.

The Governors of the northern region should as a matter of fact, apologize to Nigerians for letting these youths wander aimlessly. 

Everybody is scared and the president has declared a nationwide interstate lockdown for the same reason but for the fact that these governors have failed to enforce their state security apparatus to keep these guys in check is, to say the least, highly disappointing.

As a matter of fact, all northerners should send a wake-up call to their governors, the rest of the country cannot suffer for their mistakes.

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