In mid 2013 I wrote my article, "Nigeria: Almajiri And The Nuclear Alms Race." That was
during the Jonathan era. It was a time of global despair in Nigeria and
since the article was broadcast, nothing has been done, nothing has improved.
It is late 2015. The Almajiri are two years older now. Tens
of thousands of new Almajirinchi have additionally been condemned to the life
of family and societal abandonment. Tens of thousands of adult Almajiri have
been released into society with many having no roots to family and connection
to personal ancestral history. Hundreds have gotten hooked on drugs; hundreds
have perhaps been engaged in terror, hundreds have died unrecorded and
Of course there are good stories. Many have become notable
persons in society, hundreds of thousands voted for Change and made Change
happen to Nigeria. A service to a country that abandoned them that can never be
over appreciated. Almajiri are survivors. Families of children, or children
families, they are heroes in their own right. They are winners in a society of
us losers. They were abandoned but it is we who are lost.
Also read: ENDS hosts Sallah Party for 100 Almajiri children
The Poverty In Jonathan's Almajiri Schools
I am not sure why Jonathan set out to establish the
so-called Almajiri schools. I cannot decipher if he did it out of good
intention and bad advice as perhaps he claims was the excuse of most of his
actions, or if he did it to simply chop money. The important thing is, the so-called
Almajiri schools was a disastrous concept apart from being an illegal one.
You cannot condemn children to a school adoption. Every child has the right to
a home and a family. Almajiri schools were not adoption centers. They lacked
the qualities of such. They if they really existed, because we have searched
far and wide and failed to find them, were the authority's enshrinement of an
illegal societal practice.
Child abandonment is a crime. By establishing "Almajiri
schools," Jonathan became a partaker in the crime. Like he is renowned to
have legalized corruption, so also did his misadventure attempt to legalize
There Is No Place For Child Abandonment In Islam
For the Muslims reading this, it is important to recognize
that ever before the United Nations came up with the "Rights of a
child," declarations, the Prophet of Islam had clearly defined similar
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “Allaah has called
them abraar (righteous) because they honoured (barru) their fathers and
children. Just as your father has rights over you, so too your child has rights
over you. Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 94.
Indeed a child according to Islam has rights even before
they are born. They first have the right to a good mother. This means, we must
not choose our wives because they are just "hot," in our view, or
"kool," but we must choose our significant other based on among other
virtuous factors, the best qualities we think our hoped-to-be-born children
will enjoy and benefit-from in them.
The child has a right to a good name, proper education and
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased
with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: “Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The
ruler who is in charge of people is a shepherd and is responsible for them. The
man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for them. The woman is
the shepherd of her husband’s house and child and is responsible for them. The
slave is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for it. Each of
you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 2416; Muslim, 1829. Refer: http://islamqa.info/en/20064
By abandoning our children to beg for their sustenance and
tuition, we as a society, not just the parents are bequeathing our
responsibilities and violating our obligations to humanity and God.
The erroneous cultural habit in Nigeria's north and
neighboring parts of West Africa where the children are labeled as
"Almajiri," meaning "Al Muhajirun," or those who sojourn,
lacks basis in Islam. Thus society and the government of Nigeria should not
only discourage and phase out this practice, but should embark on banning it's
replenishment from the homes. Proper adoption centers must be established for
the kids that cannot be reconnected with their parents.
A child has the right to home upbringing and must be
protected from exploitation, begging to pay for his own tuition. This habit has
brought not only shame but wrath on Nigeria. One can only imagine the pain to
mothers when they agree to abandon their kids to a life of poverty, deadly risk
Since we commenced the www.AlmajiriProject.com early
this year, headed by Mohammed Sabo Keana, we have talked to several Almajiri
children who cannot trace their origin and do not even know their parents
As we fed hundred boys in some Almajiri schools on the two Eid
Sallah's this year, our hearts bled to see that these children
had no Sallah celebration plans in store; had never been treated to Sallah
feasts and actually went out to beg on such days.
Nigeria's Human Rights Commission chair, Professor Chidi
Odinkalu made his submission that we should see an end to this habit
in our life times. We will by God's mighty grace.
ENDS invites all Nigerians to #StandForAlmajiri. We thank
Yewande of Change Rocks Foundation and other artists and
humanitarians who have decided to be ambassadors of the www.AlmajiriProject.com.
To Nigeria's 10 million Almajiris and the children at home
who are being primed to be sent off into the Alms race, we promise
you that we will not stop to fight for a better life for you, because you
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.