Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has advocated for a law by the 19 northern state governments to punish any parent who sends his child into the streets to become an almajari.
Governor Bello said this in Maiduguri shortly after the combined convocation ceremony of the University of Maiduguri.
He expressed disappointment with parents who send their under aged children to the streets without shelter or food in the name of becoming an almajiri.
Speaking on the difficulty his government is facing after criminalising almajiri in Niger State, he said, “Actually, it is very difficult to manage but we are doing our very best to take those kids off streets. Some of them are seven or six years old. I can’t imagine how a parent will allow his six or seven-year-old boy to go on streets with no shelter or feeding.”
Further, he said that the state was making efforts to maintain the almajiri schools provided by the federal government, adding that children in the schools would eventually be returned to their parents.
“I hope the northern governors will enact laws that will punish patents that will send their children below certain age out of their homes for the purpose of almajiri. I hope the northern governors will act decisively on this matter”, he said.
“I will definitely push for it because l disagree with the situation where a five to six years old boy is left on the streets with no shelter, no food which is a very dangerous social problem that should be addressed immediately.”
Meanwhile, speaking on the difference between his government and past administrations, Gov Bello said, “We have reduced the size of the government. We have reduced the numbers of our ministries from 26 to 14, we have reduced our permanent secretaries. We inherited almost 60, but right now, we have about 30, and we also have reduced our agencies.”
The governor said cutting down on cost enables the government to channel the meagre resources available to productive sectors.