The Federal Government has insisted that the ‘almajiri’ Islamic system of education peculiar to Nigeria, will be phased out not minding the apparent blackmail or challenges posed by proponents of sociocultural dogmas.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno, made this known during the launch of a new National Security Strategy (NSS) 2019 document by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Almajiri is a system of Islamic education practiced in northern Nigeria, and has young children sent to study the Koran under the tutelage of scholars who have now gained a notoriety for not taking good care of the kids and allowing them become security risks.
The NSA who had earlier this year at a security summit stated that it was time to phase out and overhaul the system, repeated his stand as he noted that government would not be blackmailed by the philosophy of compliance with certain socio-cultural issues in dealing with security threats.
Monguno explained that the new NSS document also addresses issues of poverty eradication land illiteracy, which is directly linked to the issue of children not going to school.
“This almajiri phenomenon which we have been talking about, we cannot continue to push it under the carpet; because eventually it will come back to bite us in the butt big time, we need to deal with this issue and it is the responsibility of all of us to try and take care of this issue without any inhibition.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its pursuit for greater and enhanced security will not allow itself to be blackmailed or handcuffed by the disarming philosophy of compliance with certain aspects that are socio-cultural in nature which people tend to be adverse to dealing. We must grab the bull by the horn and deal with these issues,” he stressed.
The NSA disclosed that the new security strategy document looks at Nigeria’s national security objectives in line with the goals of the current administration in fighting corruption, giving access to improved education, and addressing the healthcare problems of citizens.
“But rooted in the strategy are issues that may not be visible to the necked eyes, but issues which have tended to be malignant to cause a lot of greater problems to this society,” he noted.
Monguno had in June this year announced that the Federal Government plans to ban the almajiri system, declaring that: “Ultimately, government will have to proscribe this almajiri phenomenon because we cannot continue to have street urchins, children roaming around, only for them in a couple of years, or decades to become a problem to society.”
The presidency after the NSA’s remarks had however cautioned that any ban of almajiri when necessary, would have to follow due process and in consultation with relevant authorities.