Northern leaders disagree over Almajiri system •ACF backs FG, calls for overhaul

•You can’t ban Almajiri, Dahiru Bauchi Foundation tells FG

The decision of the Federal Government to proscribe the Almajiri system because of rising insecurity has pitched two northern groups against each other.

While the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has sided with President Muhammadu Buhari’s intention to overhaul the Almajiri system of education, another northern group, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi Foundation, has warned against outlawing the system.

ACF’s position was contained in a statement issued in Kaduna on Saturday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji  Muhammad Ibrahim Biu.

The body said it aligned itself to Buhari’s concern on the need to rejig the Almajiri system of schooling that would provide free and compulsory education across the country.

It said, “Indeed, the forum has, over the years, advocated improvement of the Almajiri system of learning amid the western educational system for performance.

“In fact, most Nigerians are confusing the real Almajiri system of learning with the children that are out of schools roaming the streets and begging in the name of Almajiri.

“This is a misrepresentation of the concept in the Islamic doctrine of learning. Almajiri means going to Islamic schools to learn the reading of the Holy Quran and its teachings that will benefit the child morally, economically, socially and also instill the fear of God as the creator.

“The children we see begging in the streets are in the real sense not Almajiris, but children abandoned by their parents,” the statement said.

The forum tasked state governments to heed the president’s appeal for free and compulsory basic education for every child and make funds available for that purpose.

But the Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi Foundation urged the Federal Government to provide an alternative system before contemplating banning the Almajiri system.

The foundation’s leader, Alhaji Ibrahim Sheikh Dahiru, said the Almajiri system had been in operation for over 1,000 years, adding that the Almajiris had never been a threat to the security of the country.

“They are the pupils learning recitation and memorising the Holy Quran. They are not criminals; they are the ones praying for peace and stability in the country,” he said.

He further explained that no Almajiri had been found admong criminals such as armed robbers, kidnappers or insurgents arrested by security agencies, wondering why the Almajiris had suddenly become a security risk in the country.

Rather than proscribe the system, he advised the Federal Government to establish an agency for Almajiri education and  allow people that have direct link with Tsangaya Schools to head the commission.