Almajirai have no business in South East, says MACBAN
• Christian leaders raise concern over movements to region
• ‘They should be treated as vulnerable children, not political pawns’
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the South East has said the of evacuation of Almajiri children to the region does not make sense, insisting that they have no business moving from the North.
Chairman of MACBAN in the zone, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, who spoke in an interview with The Guardian in Amansea, Anambra State, yesterday argued that there was no Arabic School in the South East zone where they could be taught to attract the Almajirai to the zone.
He said that those dubbed Almajirai were those moving to the South to sell their cattle.
Describing them as children from poor homes in the North, he said begging, which the children were being subjected amounted child abuse, adding, “Sometimes when people claim that Almajirai are evacuated from North to the South, they need to be asked where they can go and where they cannot go.”
He expressed worry over the action of Northern governors who are repatriating the children to their states of origin, noting, “It is not the best time to ask them to go because the country is facing crisis presently.”
In a similar vein, religious leaders in the South East have expressed concerns over the increase in movement of Northern youths to the zone irrespective of Federal Government’s ban on interstate travel to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Right Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, who spoke on behalf of other religious leaders, said the movements had become suspicious and wondered why such movements had heightened since the restriction on interstate movement over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Pediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) has demanded that Almajirai children should be treated as vulnerable persons and not as pawns in the chessboard of the country’s politicians.
PAN lamented that the children were being treated as irritants on the shoulders of various states and are now being casually, carelessly and defiantly shoved away in their own country.
PAN President, Professor Edward Alikor and Secretary, Dr. Petronila Tabansi, in a statement demanded that the children be treated, not just as human beings, but as vulnerable persons who play no role in, and could therefore, not take responsibility for decisions of adults and leaders that have led to the current situation.