A fresh indication has emerged that no fewer than two million Almajiris are roaming on the streets of Zamfara.
Almajiri, derives from an Arabic word “al-Muhajirun, is known as a system of Islamic education practiced majorly in northern Nigeria.
The state Director of Budget, Alhaji Hamza Salisu made this disclosure in the state capital Gusau, during a meeting on Child Development Grant Programme and Strengthening Social Protection System in the state, organised by Save the Children International.
According to him, “Based on the data available to us, there are about two million almajiris across the state which we consider as a big threat to future development of our dear state.
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“Though, government has the power to come up with policies to tackle almajiri issues, but at individuals levels, groups and associations, we have to also contribute in sensitising members of the public in this regard.”
He called on parents and guardians to take full responsibility of their children to reduce social challenges in the society.
In his remarks, the Director Legal Matters, Zamfara House of Assembly, Mr Nasiru Jangebe blamed some Islamic scholars for misinterpreting verses of the Qur’an to defend begging in the society.
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Jangebe said street begging had no relation with acquisition of Qur’anic education.
“Therefore those scholars defending begging in the name of Islam are not teaching the true meaning of the religion,” he contended.
Jangebe therefore called on government at all levels to come up with policies to tackle street begging especially among children.
The State Coordinator, Unicef Girl Child Education Projects, Mustafa Shehu, attributed the increase of security challenges in the society to increasing number of out-of-school children and street beggars.
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Shehu however said all stakeholders must join hands in supporting the needy.
“At individual levels, we have to do something from our homes to sponsor orphans and children of the less privileged in the society,” Shehu added.
In her contribution, a Deputy Director in the Office of the State Head of Service, UmmuSalma Abubakar, said ignorance and negative perception of issues were some of the factors hindering social protection programmes in the state.
Abubakar appealed for more collaborative efforts from stakeholders in sensitising members of the public in this regard.
The Chairman, Zamfara Social Protection Platform, Malam Nasiru Biyabiki, lamented over the issue of girl beggars in the state and urged the state government to take measures to protect underaged children from child labour and abuse.
He urged the state to adopt a uniform Social Protection Policy and harmonise social protection activities in the state.
Earlier, the Advocacy and Communication Officer of Save the Children International, Nura Muhammad, said the aim of the meeting was to come up with strategies to push for the signing of Social Protection Policy by the state government.