Former NIS boss Babandede denounces Almajiri’s education system

The former Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has criticized the continued practice of the centuries-old Almajiri system of education in the northern part of Nigeria.

Mr Babandede, who has linked the practice to growing security challenges in parts of the country, said so in Abuja on Tuesday at the unveiling of the Sure For You Rescue and Resettlement Initiative (SURE 4U), a non-governmental organization founded by him.

He said the NGO will focus on meeting the educational and material needs of street children, refugees and deportees from other countries.

Almajiri System

Described as a traditional, non-formal system of Islamic education, Almajiri System He is said to subject his learners to the custody of their teachers otherwise known as the Mallams.

The Mallams then allow students to roam the streets begging for alms, food and sometimes hand menial jobs to teachers or members of the public as a means of survival.

This education system is mainly found in the northern part of Nigeria.

Mr. Babandede said Nigeria must take care of street children, soften their hearts and take care of them before they become criminals in the future.

He noted that security agencies alone cannot solve the security problems currently facing the country, saying this was one of the reasons he founded the NGO.

Mr Babanded accused Nigerian politicians of improving the Almajiri system, saying they had failed to condemn it for political gain.

Unveiling of SURE 4U, an NGO by former immigration boss, Babandede
Unveiling of SURE 4U, an NGO by former immigration boss, Babandede

“Politicians must stop deceiving us. Because they want votes from the Mallams (Almajiri school teachers), they will never criticize the Almajiri system. We’re saying it’s not the right thing to do,” he said.

He added that SURE 4U will prioritize the education of vulnerable children, including Almajiri and orphans, as well as deportees from countries, especially the Middle East.

He said; “Almajiri is a shameful culture in the north. If you can’t say it (because) you’re a great man, I say it. We cannot allow children to go to the streets begging for food with an unwashed container.

“These are people who have no pity for us when they see us on the road, because they have no parental love. Nobody loved them when they were children.

“Law enforcement cannot fight these crimes alone. Civil societies must help them. We must now soften the hearts of children before they become criminals.

The organization also unveiled its seven-member board chaired by Usman Kibiya, a former member of the Nigerian senate.

Other council members include Carol Ndaguba, Habiba Lawal, Garba Baba, Tola Sogbesan, Jamil Shittu and Shamsudeen Muhammad.

The minister speaks

Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said the organization was based on the same principle that Mr Babandede had worked on since his days at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and at the INS.

Mr. Agba therefore urged international organizations and donors to support the work of the NGO.

He also called on NGOs to support the government’s fight against terrorism, banditry and all forms of crime “by ensuring that they do not engage in activities that undermine sovereignty and national security. from the country”.


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He said: “The experience gained by the Founder at NAPTIP and the Immigration Service will certainly be helpful in achieving the goals of the organization.

“Many NGOs struggle to secure sufficient and ongoing funding for their work. Access to appropriate donors is a major part of this challenge and I hope that donor agencies and international partners will work with this promising NGO to achieve these goals.

The unveiling took place in the presence of the Chief of Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo, and representatives of the Comptroller General of the NIS, the Minister of Interior, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), from the Netherlands and Spain.

In his presentation, a program manager at SURE 4U, Shuaibu Abdullahi, noted that NASCO Foods supported the organization’s pilot intervention program at a Tsangaya school in Jahun, Jigawa State, between the 22 and July 23.

Qosim Suleiman is a journalist at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to cover under-reported issues around the world.


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