The Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Board and the State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in collaboration with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has flagged off a 2 day meeting to finalize management plans for vulnerable children in the state.
Stakeholders at the 2day meeting are expected to support the finalization and roll out case planning and management frameworks for the most vulnerable children without parental care, especially, Almajiri and out of school adolescent girls and those in street situation in Sokoto.
Giving an overview of the stakeholders meeting, the journey so far and the Action Plan, Abubakar Alhaji who is the Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Education Board/UNICEF Focal Person, admitted that despite support to vulnerable people by both previous and present government, the needed attention to capturing their data was not giving priority.
“Even though vulnerable children, particularly the Almajiri and out- of-school adolescent girls, have received the care of the present and previous administrations, not much attention was given to data capturing of this group in the state. With the dispersal and relocation of Almajirai from various states in the Federation, controlling them posed a serious challenge at both national and states levels”.
While stressing that diverse factors have contributed to making the Almajirai a highly vulnerable group, Abubakar Alhaji added that, they are also, “exposed to various risks, such as exposure to contagious diseases like corona or (COVID 19), lassa-fever, exploitation, harassments, violence, and, above all, to various criminal activities, including banditry”.
On the odds of Almajirai daily street roaming in search of alms, the AIED/UNICEF Focal Person said, “It is not only a societal disgrace, but a national malaise and a danger that could hinder the attainment of sustainable development goals, if the problem is not tackled with the urgency it requires”.
He further noted that under ideal situation, the education of Almajirai should not be a state or national problem since it is largely financially self-propelled, adding however that, the surrounding factors of lack of adequate parental care, shunning away from family responsibility, societal neglect amongst others have interwoven to expose the dare consequences society is experiencing regarding the group tagged as Almajirai.
To genuinely address the Almajirai syndrome, Abubakar opined that, governments, parents and stakeholders should expedite action on inclusive education geared towards transforming the old Almajiri system, for the maximum utilization of its unexplored benefits.
Abubakar, the AIED/UNICEF Focal Person submitted therefore that the 2-day stakeholders meeting will help in developing a cost operational plan that will guide the implementation of a multisectoral gender responsive program for children in street situation and out-of-school adolescent girls in Sokoto.
He also added that the meeting will help facilitate the introduction of literacy, numeracy, life and vocational skills into the Almajiri system and women centres of the MOWCAs.
This, according to Abubakar will be supported by a case-by-case basis and services will be provided to ensure that all the children’s protection needs are met and that they are free from violence, abuse and exploitation.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, AIEB, Dr Umar Aliyu Dandinmahe, admonished stakeholders to objectively contribute towards finding lasting solutions to the Almajiri syndrome.
Stakeholders present at the 2 day meeting include, Imam Muhammad Muhammad Maigyero of the National Center for Qur’anic Reciters Sokoto branch, Malam Muhammad Lawal Maidoki, the Sokoto Executive Chairman, Zakat and Endowment Commission.
Others include, the Executive Chairman, Sokoto SUBEB, Hon Altine Shehu Kajiji, Sokoto state Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.