The Kebbi State government has expressed readiness to partner with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to curb the menace of Almajiris in the 21 local government areas of the state.
The commissioner for women affairs, Tsahara Bawa, made this known when she received members of Almajiris Support Initiative of Nigeria (ASIN) Kebbi State chapter, in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.
“The current state of the Almajiris portends real and existential threat, which, if left unchecked, could have profound consequences.
“Addressing the menace is not the sole responsibility of the government. All hands should be on deck in order to have a holistic redress of the problem,” she said.
She highlighted that some Almajiri systems have religious and cultural connections, would be difficult to address without the involvement of all the stakeholders in the state.
Earlier, the state chairman of the NGO, Shehu Umar, said the only way to keep Almajiri children off the streets was by improving the status of their condition and providing them with sound Islamic and Western education.
“We should also empower them and their teachers (Malams) with vocational skills, as well as healthcare services,” he urged.
According to him, the association has established a vocational centre for Almajiris in Birnin Kebbi, aimed at monitoring their activities and training them on skill acquisition ventures.
He said they were trained in carpentry, welding, tailoring, knitting, counselling as well as education to support their quest for self-reliance and keep them off the streets.
Mr Umar said the centre was established in 2002, adding that it had graduated over 400 Almajiris, apart from many others attached to various trade centres to learn how to be self-reliant.
“We relate with all their categories – from the blind, cripple and others with physical deformities,” he said.
The chairman called on the government and well-to-do individuals to support the initiative by funding or providing materials to complement efforts of the association.
He said the group lacked permanent office accommodation, enough training facilities, and transportation to expand its scope of activities.