By Abdullahi O. Haruna Haruspice
The kids abandoned on the streets of northern Nigeria should not be given the legitimacy of almajiranci but kids pushed into misery by irresponsible parents. No sane mind will send a child into the wilderness in the name of Quranic education.
My friend Suleiman Mohammed runs a Quranic school here in Abuja, my kids attend this Islamiyah and are the kids of other Muslims here. Every day, we drive the kids to this school after school and return them home. I don’t understand the logic of sending kids in search of Quranic education far away from the care of their parents. This school run by my friend has produced great Arabic graduates and they are all children of Muslim parents. Are we saying these children are not sufficient in the kind of Quranic education preferred in the north?
My kid brother spent 4 years to learn the Quran far less years than his secondary education. Today, he has memorized the Quran yet he didn’t go out for a day to beg for alms. Like his conventional school, he goes and returns as at when due. Call any of these kids you see on the streets with bowls in hand and ask them to recite any portion of the Quran, they go blank and stark. The reality is that they are not into any serious studies.
They are kids pushed into the world by callous parents to go and suffer. These kids are helpless victims of irresponsible parents.
Now that the elites in the north have woken up to the reality of the abandoned kids, the solution is finally here.
Criminalising this act the surest way to ending this perennial plague. Any parent who couldn’t control his libido and gush forth kids anyhow should be forced to cater for their kids. No one should be allowed to send kids in the name of learning Quranic knowledge. Knowledge is never impacted in an atmosphere that is choking and nonconducive. You can’t relish conjugal poohpooh and throw away the result of your fluidal sweats. Whoever brings forth a child into the world mist be made to nurture the child into adulthood.
No one helped you to impregnate your wife, therefore, no one is expected to raise your kids! You can be poor and still hold tight to your offspring. Even in the jungle, animals never abandoned their offspring in care of the forest.
Sending kids to teachers to learn Arabic education in faraway land is not Islam neither is it cultural, it is a lamentable parental failure. And the time is here to end this archaic act. The quest for knowledge that requires only the poor sending their kids for almajiranci while the children of the rich are cocooned in the comfort of their opulence should be abolished so that we can have equal society for all. This is the time to call out all the senators from the north to begin the process of criminalising parents sending their children to the streets in search of Quranic knowledge. School curriculum should be developed to include Arabic and Islamic knowledge -that is of we don’t have that already.
As for those across the Niger saying the almajiri issue is not your problem, it is more a bigger collective debacle than you think. Crime rate increases when you have more abandoned kids on the streets. They are easy prey for terrorists and can unleash venom in anger of your affluence in contrast to their abject existence. Join the campaign and help is to advocate for laws that will end the menace called almajiranci – where kids are left at the mercy of the street!