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Governor Masari describes Almajiri system as un-Islamic

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Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, yesterday, lamented the socio-economic challenges posed by the Almajiri children, even as he described the system of education prevalent in northern Nigeria as un-Islamic.

Almajiris, referred to as street urchins, are found in most urban centres across the north; they solicit for alms and are involved in various levels of study of the Muslim Holy Book, under the guidance of scholars, popularly called Mallams.

Masari, who spoke during conclusion of the 10-day 32nd edition of the annual national Koranic recitation competition in Katsina State, said the Almajiri system was far cry from Islamic tenets.

“The practice of the Almajirai,” he went, “is far from being a reflection of Islamic ideals, it is an erroneous belief to say that the Almajirai are truly students of Islamic knowledge.”

The governor regretted that rather than become responsible persons in society, some of the products of the Almajiri education system actually end up as religious extremists, and later transform into deviant religious groups in the country.

Masari stated: “The Almajirai are erroneously linked to Islamic education. Aged between four and 15 years, the Almajirai are engaged more in seeking sustenance for themselves than in learning the Koran. They are exposed, exploited and abused and many of them become involved in crimes. Islam does not encourage begging. Current statistics show that there are about 13 million out-of-school children in Nigeria and 10 million of them are Almajirai.

“We must go beyond rhetorics and find a permanent solution to the Almajirai issue and the solution is not in abolishing it, but in reforming it to meet present day realities. The religion of Islam is a comprehensive way of life and it is dynamic in its approach to both spiritual and mundane affairs.”

In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar lll, called on Nigerians to ensure they register for the continuous voters registration and obtain their voter cards in order to participate in next year’s general elections, stressing that it is only through the voter’s card that Nigerians can challenge their “leaders and also have a say in what they do.”
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