Senate President Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan has lamented the vulnerabilities associated with the current operation of the Almajiri system of education.
The Senate President who was represented by Suleiman Abdu Kwari representing Kaduna North Senatorial District at a public lecture at the Arewa House, Kaduna weekend, said the system as operated today, exposes children to multiple risks of manipulation and indoctrination.
Senator Lawan observed that recently, a worse form of kidnapping was witnessed with reported cases of young children kidnapped from the northern part of the country and moved to states far away from their origin.
He expressed worry that most of these kidnapped children were allegedly sold out to people and given new identities.
He said that unlike the past when the almajiri system of education recorded some achievements in literacy and social services, the present day system has been faced with numerous challenges.
“Findings have revealed that most of the present day almajiri children are more exposed to social vices such as kidnapping, ritual killing, malnutrition amongst others.
“There have also been reported cases of almajiri pupils being radicalized and brainwashed by terrorists and other criminal elements. Others are vulnerable to various forms of abuse, drugs and exploitation,” he said.
According to the Senator, the Almajiri system of education as practiced today is a completely bastardized system compared to the way it operated in the past.
“In the past, street begging was not involved and pupils were hardly found roaming all nooks and crannies of the street and reduced to engaging in menial jobs in order to feed themselves.
“Our children need to be safeguarded from roaming the streets and protected from evil influences that assail idle hands and minds,” he said.
He observed the need for partnership between the government, religious and traditional leaders to proffer ways to phase out the Almajiri system of education.
The system, he said, needs to be remodelled and fully integrated into the nation’s educational systems.
“Orientation programmes and public lectures such as this should be consistently organized to sensitize people on the need to tackle the menace,” he said.