An elder statesman and second republic lawmaker Dr Junaidu Muhammed has called for the arrest and prosecution of security operatives at the borders between states that allow for Almajerai to be concealed in trailers like cows to smuggled to the Southern States.
Dr Junaid Muhammad speaking against the backdrop of a recent situation when South East, South-South States clamped down on almajirai relocating from North.
It would be recalled, the Enugu State government intercepted and turned back nine busloads of almajirai following a failed attempt to sneak them into the state.
They were dislodged from the North, as governors in the region moved urgently to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of the pupils trying to find new havens in the South have been prevalent.
It was reported that security operatives alongside council chairmen and youths stopped about three hundred of the pupils around the Enugu-Benue boundaries, particularly at Udenu, Igbo-Eze North and Nsuka Local Government Area.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his broadcast on 27th of April had talked about the new plan to ensure there is no movement between States, however, the security at the border posts have been compromising and letting the almajerais to be smuggled to other States.
The elder statesman said his views for the past 60 years on Almajerai has not changed. “I don’t believe the almajiri is necessary, I don’t believe it is politics or religion, I don’t believe it is in the interest of our country to allow this unhealthy phenomenon.
“It is economically counterproductive, it does not help in developing the country or developing the young men who are the Almajerai.
“If they are brought up to be almajerai most of them does not know the Koran, they don’t know modern education, they have no trade, no job, they have no training, so as far as I am concerned it is, in fact, an abuse of these children who are brought up to be almajerai.”
He said on top of that, it is important to realise that if the almajerias decide to get married, there is a responsibility attached to that marriage, if they decide to have a child there is a responsibility attached to then as far as that child is concerned.
“The idea that you can decide to get married and start producing children like rats is simply uncalled for and in the long run a criminal offence as far as I am concerned.
” Bringing up a child in this modern age of the 21st century who is not educated, who knows nothing about religion, who knows nothing about any profession is also a crime against humanity.”
“So as far as I am concerned, whatever the inconveniencies these almajerai are subjected to, I am all for it, because I want it discouraged, and at some point in the near future, I want it completely to be stopped because we have the people who have refuse to really stamp their feet on the ground to put a stop to it simply because they don’t have the political will. ”
He explained further that the people who are supposed to say no, don’t do so.
“Secondly there is also the idea that because of our liberal nature you can travel all the way from Lagos to Maiduguri to Sokoto to Calabar, without being harassed because they take advantage of that to go and now have so many colonies of almajerai in so many places where the culture is not there.”
He said as far as he is concerned he has no problem with them being treated in a shabby manner adding that if they are caught they should be apprehended.
“The almajerai may be innocent but those who facilitate their journeys should be arrested and jailed. Unless we put our foot down we are not going to have an end to this criminal phenomenon.”