Governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has described as pathetic, the scourge of Almajiris (street beggars) in the state, who roam the streets begging for alms and meals daily, in spite of government’s efforts.
It is estimated that there are nine million children living as Almajiris in northern Nigeria, a frightening development that led former President Goodluck Jonathan to establish free schools to cater for these group, albeit, to little success.
Lamenting the prevalence of these group of kids in Nasarawa State, Gov. Al-Makura said:
“My administration is very much interested in the education of the youths. We don’t want a situation where children will be roaming about aimlessly like the Almajiris, who are like loosed animals without control”.
He further lamented that the Almajiris were being denied right to education and made to wander about like sheep with no shepherd.
Al-Makura urged parents to send their wards to school and not engage them in any practice that would deny them access to education.He said this while speaking at the official commissioning of Model Girls Secondary School, Kwandere, in Lafia local government area of the state, stressing that education remained his priority since it was the bedrock of any developed society and called on parents in the host communities to take advantage of the establishment and proximity the model school gave to their children for sound education.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Jibrin Paiko, the Executive Secretary National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, yesterday expressed concerns over the present literacy situation in Nigeria particularly in the northern states, stressing that “the reality on ground shows that 9.5 million Almajiri children in traditional Quaranic Schools don’t have access to basic education.”
Adding that the UNICEF survey on out of school children in 2013 shows that 10.5 million children who started either primary or junior secondary school were no longer in school, creating an additional challenge to non-formal education sub-sector.
Alhaji Paiko while declaring open a two-day professional development training for managers of adult and non-formal education made this known in his keynote address .
The Commission he said, has set a literacy target of five million to be achieved in the year 2016, adding that it was on the premise of achieving the set target as part of the 2016 literacy agenda that the workshop was organised to provide participants with skills and scheme that will help in meeting the target and as a guide that will enable them develop realistic literacy targets per each programme in their respective states.
The workshop with the theme; “Coordination and management of Non-Formal Education programmes in Nigeria,” was organised in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for 36 states and FCT executive directors for agencies for mass education.