“Some Almajiris Returned to Kano Are Covid-19 Positive; It’s Not Politics!” ~Ganduje

The governor of the state of Kano, Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, has clarified that the exercise of return of almajiri children to their states of origin is not a political strategy to publicise their efforts or corner public funds. Neither is it politicised.

Almajiri are children who undergo sound training on Islamic culture and taught basic knowledge of the Qur’an, while undergoing training on the rigours and harshness of life, so as to enable them withstand the pressures of life when they are eventually educated on the rudiments of Islam and its propagation, and graduated into the society. The system, nowadays, is more or less undocumented, uncensored, unsupervised, and informal. The word Al-Majiri derives from the Arabic ‘Al-Mahaajirun’, literally meaning a learned scholar who propagates ”the peaceful message of Islam”. The practice has become so bastardised because of the belief of the Hausa and other northern Nigerian tribes who (perhaps erroneously) assume that children will be more eager and serious and focused, when they are being trained far away from the comfort of their homes. Almajiris are taught by Islamic scholars, and many of these ‘Malams’ cannot cater to the livelihood of these children, therefore the need to allow them to roam the streets in search of food, money, or even menial or labourer jobs. This, however, does not mean that there are no well supervised almajiri children or well-fed ones.

Almajiri children in the far-north part of Nigeria. (Credit: Independent Newspaper)

According to Ganduje, “We agreed at the Northern Governors Forum that all Almajiris moved to their states of origin. That is why we are sending, in good faith and procedures, all Almajiris that are not from Kano State to their respective states of origin.” The governor, speaking to the press yesterday at the Africa House, the Kano State Government House in Kano, during the Kano State Task Force on COVID-19 briefing, said that the exercise is not political and should not be politicised. “All we are doing is simply to comply with the Northern Governors’ Forum decision that all Almajiris in our states should be taken back to their respective states, simple,” he added.

The governor emphasized that some of the Almajiris returned to the state during the exercise, are COVID-19 positive, “But we are not making politics out of it. Because we all believe that what they need most now, is not noise making or accusations…”

In a related development, the governor stated that the government has commenced distribution of facemasks to all the 44 Local Government Areas of the State while it advises residents to do as much as they can to stay home, maintaining that the movement restrictions has become mandatory to forestall spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the second most populous state in Nigeria.

There has been insinuation that the Almajiri return exercise by the northern states is mere politicised exercise to hoodwink people. The admittance that some of the children tested positive to COVID-19, justifies the fear of some people like gospel singer Chychy Chukwu which Switch Nigeria reported earlier.

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