Katsina - The Katsina State Government has so far prevented 17 000 pupils of Quranic schools from engaging in street begging under its skill acquisition programme. The Special Assistant to the Governor on Almajiri Programme, Alhaji Lawal Gambarawa, made the fact known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Katsina on Wednesday.
He said that 70 Quranic schools were selected across the state under the pilot programme to provide skills and other support for the pupils so as to prevent them from street begging.
He said that tools, including sewing machines, barbing equipment, generators, cap making materials and laundry facilities were provided for each school with three trainers each to train the pupils. ``In addition, the state government provided food items, such as maize, rice, guinea-corn, millet, beans, sugar, cooking oil and soap as well as some cash for the purchase of soup ingredients monthly to the schools. ``The teachers of such schools are also being given N10,000 monthly allowance, while two women who assisted in cooking food for the almajiris are being paid N3,000 monthly,” he said.
The special assistant said the programme had started yielding positive results because the affected children had stopped street or house-to-house begging following the introduction of the programme in their schools. Gambarawa also said that the programme would be extended to other Quranic schools, adding that provision was made for it in the 2013 budget.
He, however, appealed to parents, wealthy individuals and NGOs to assist in supporting the Quranic schools so as to complement government’s effort in addressing the menace of street begging. He said that 8,365 Quranic schools with 460,212 student population existed in the state, adding that there was a need for a concerted effort to assist them.