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How Almajirai can fetch N3bn quarterly revenue for Kano state

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Abbas Yushau Yusuf

Recently there has been a controversy regarding a statement issued by the National Security Adviser that federal government is mooting the idea of banning Almajiranci in northern states. The statement generated uproar as government did not expatiate on how to go about the policy. Later, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said the ban is not an immediate one.

For almost a decade Nigeria has been confronted with security challenges like kidnapping, armed robbery and above all insurgency. Some individuals have associated the rising crime to neglect of the child especially in Northern Nigeria.

Almajiranci has been bastardized by the very people who are operating it. Many Nigerians from the South see it as a phenomenon that breeds crime, which is far from the truth.

Every society has a system of imparting knowledge to the people. Almajiri is a dignified being. The word Almajiri was derived from Arabic word Almuhajir. It means someone who migrated from his native town in search of knowledge, not a criminal as some ignorant people are insinuating.

It wasn’t so

In the olden days when a child was taken to a Tsangaya, that is, an Almajiri school, his father accompanied him with foodstuff and some dues to be given to the Qur’anic scholar who teaches and supervises the students from the first stage of learning to a time when the child will graduate.

The Almajiranci system of Qur’anic education is a great heritage among the Muslims in northern Nigeria and is among the best systems of acquiring sound knowledge. There are international Islamic scholars that are graduates of the Almajiranci system. Some have written the Qur’an, and have traversed this world.

Instead of banning Almajiranci there are ways that government can reform the system, so that the northern society will continue to wax stronger in terms of knowledge and scholarship.

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The best knowledge among mankind is the knowledge of the Qur’an which is the word of Allah, our creator. There are many scientific words from the Qur’an that shape and guide old and emerging scientists the world over.

Statistics show that in Kano alone there are three million children roaming the streets and it is said that they are mostly Almajirai. Kano is the hub of northern Nigeria in every aspect of human endeavor and if the state is rotten many northern states will smell and they too will be rotten.

As a result of politics and incoherent policies, Kano state governments are not seriously exerting their power to reform the Almajiri system which other northern states may follow suit. Kano state Government under Ibrahim Shekarau took some steps to reform the system but successive governments in the state did not take steps to consolidate the achievement made by  Shekarau on Almajiranci.

Mining Camps to the rescue

In one of the best discussions on Almajirai I had with a researcher in northern Nigeria Comrade Sabiu Sani Abubakar known as Comrade Mala, who is now called the Ambassador of Almajirai, he told me that there are ways to reform the system if northern governments are serious about it.

Comrade Mala conducted a research in Northern Nigerian states where they have Almajirai by sampling the schools. He found that they are still the best in giving Qur’anic knowledge to the people. He said as there are levels of education in formal schools across the world it’s also found at Almajirai School. His research revealed the following categories of Almajirai; Kotso, Kolo, Titibiri, Gardi, Alaramma, Gangaran, Gwani and Mahiru. Kotso corresponds to nursery pupils, Kolo; primary, Titibiri; junior secondary, Gardi; SSCE graduates, Alaramma; university graduates, Gangaran; Master’s degree holders, Gwani; PhD holders, while Mahiru corresponds to a professor.

Comrade Mala said for Kano to reform Almajiranci and gain employment for the teeming Almajirai and generate revenue the following strategy should be adopted. Kano state is blessed with sites where there are mines at Rano, Doguwa and Dambatta. The government should create mining camps at each site, where three thousand Almajirai at the level of Gardi would be employed.

The three mining camps should be set up in conjunction with foreign companies. The one thousand Almajirai in each camp will be spending six days mining for six hours with the exception of Friday. In each of the three camps the Almajira will spend 6 hours every day which is 36 hours. If you multiply the working hours by three months you will get 432,000 hours.

This will enable the Kano state government to generate N3billion quarterly. Part of the money will be used to feed the Almajiri workforce, pay them allowances and pay their tutors. The Almajirai could be taught science courses like Mathematics and Mining Technology in the camp. That would absolve them from indolence.

Unfortunately, talent is not honored in Nigeria.

Abbas Yushau Yusuf can be reached at abyushau2@gmail.com

 

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Opinion

Childhood killer diseases: NGO gets $29m grants to reach 1m caregivers

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An International Non-Governmental Organization, New Incentive, said it has received a grant of $29 million under it project – All Babies Are Equal targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States .

Kano Focus reports that the four Northern states are Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.

These childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal disease and measles.

The Stakeholder Relations Director, of the NGO Nura Muhammad disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with the benefiting states held in Kano.

Muhammad said the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the Immunization.

He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over 1 million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.

This covers expansion to 35 LGAs with continued operations through Dec 2023.

“The organization aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.

In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.

“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles).

These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics.

Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit.

“The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness of routine immunizations.

“The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018.

To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers.

An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.

Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program.

“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and there is evidence that suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020),” the Stakeholder Relations Director, Nura Muhammad however said.

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Meet Abdul: The most talented Dabo Babies player of all time

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Picking out the footballing stars of the future is a tricky task.

There are so many factors which could hinder the progression of even the most professional of teenagers.

But some do seem destined to reach the top, while others display a work ethic that’s even greater than the natural talent at their disposal.

The second paragraph could be the case with Dabo Babies talented, 19-year-old forward Abdul Attacker.

He burst onto the scene when he was playing for a local club, Golden Bullet and was snapped up by famous Dabo Babes FC after the departure of former Nigeria U-20 star, Nazifi Yahaya.

And has since caught the attention of football enthusiast across the country with his brilliant display for Dabo Babes.

Abdul tormented four-time Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars FC after he scored twice against the Sai Masu Gida in a friendly match before the kickoff of the second stanza of the just concluded 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL).

He was the catalyst to Dabo Babes good run to the Kano state Tofa Premier League title driving the famous academy from game to game until they reach the final.

The dazzling forward produces mouthwatering display to earn himself accolades from the Pen Profession who could not hide their love for the next Super Star during the Tofa Premier League final.

He likes his game to that of Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich deadly striker, Robert Lewandowski.

The 19-year-old’s talent and versatility has some people wondering whether he could be a bolster for the Nigeria National U-20 team, the Flying Eagles for their upcoming assignments.

As preparations for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season gearing towards climax, many top clubs are interested in snapping him to bolster their squad as well as few other European top teams.

He has scored 55 goals and provided further 22 assists for Dabo Babes in less than three and a half years.

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Opinion

Lamido, Jega celebrate NEPU @ 71 

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Aminu Kano

Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad 

Yesterday, Sunday, the 8th of August, 2021, I accompanied His Excellency Dr Sule Lamido  (CON) who was the speaker at a symposium organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano (Mambayya House) to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), with the theme; ‘Politics of Principles and the Phenomenon of Political Party Defections in Nigeria’.

Sule Lamido

The event which held under the distinguished chairmanship of the cerebral Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, also had the ebullient Dr. Auwalu Anwar as the sole discussant. While Professor Attahiru Jega, Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Professor Sule Bello, Dr. Nasir Fagge, former NEPU/PRP regional, federal and state parliamentarians, women and youth leaders from across the country, notably Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna States all ran incisive commentaries.

Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir

The cacophony of voices were as fierce as they were sharply different in tone, content and delivery. But by far, that which stood out and generated most responses was Dr Lamido’s lead assertion that the raison d’etre for the NEPU/PRP ideological and political initiatives was to liberate the common folks (the Talakawas), first from the clutches of the combined reppression of the colonial overloads and their willing surrogates in the Native Authority establishments in Northern Nigeria, and the restrictions placed on them in political participation, aspirations and freedoms.

He forcefully argued that the movements have achieved on both counts as the children of yesterday’s Talakawas are today the new overloads and oppressors who deny their fellow Talakawas quality leadership as presidents, governors, parliamentarians, ministers, council chairmen and their councils. He concluded that the movements (atleast as organised political actions) should rest and cease to exist. And that today’s progressives should instead leverage around available political opportunities/platforms to confront the existing selfish order using present day political sentiments and realities as mobilization tools.

Prof. Hafiz Abubakar

But recalling copiously from memory, the lead speaker canvassed for an ideological graft transplant from the NEPU/PRP days in ways that the moral and ethical characters of both politics and governance of today can benefit from the sound value systems of old oder.

He narrated how he first resigned as a member of the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1983 purely on moral grounds, and then flew to Kano to convince the then Governor Alhaji Abubakar Rimi to do same as the governor of the old Kano State when the duo defected from the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) that gave them the mandates in the first place.

He then described the present phenomenon of political party defections in Nigeria as the worst form of corruption.

This profound submission drew a symphony of responses from today’s PRP practitioners who are mostly academics. Leading the park was Professor Attahiru Jega who argued that without justice in leadership and the level of impunity as is the case today, the NEPU/PRP cause has just begun and asked Sule Lamido to come lead the national onslaught.

Many other PhDs and Professors joined in the call that Lamido would later say lacked sufficient local and broader national political insight. It is significant to note that I was to totally align myself with the Sule Lamido’s perspective of the argument only yesterday, having engaged with him for over a decade on the same exact topic as the Jegas had done yesterday at Mambayya.

I am now fully convinced that the NEPU/PRP politics exclusively represented yesterday’s political sentiments and realities in the North with no much utility for either our present political and social circumstances or broader national appeal.

Sule Lamido, Dr Nuruddeen Muhammad and other guests

The Mambayya rendezvous is prehaps the only remaining theatre in Nigeria where political practitioners, activists and ideologues meet political researchers, theorists and even wannabees in a real time intellectual brawl. Bayero University Kano is both creative and thoughful in this annual ritual. Mallam Aminu Kano and his comrades had lived a very politically active, intellectually robust, and ideologically/philosophically sound lives to deserve this honour.

When academic excellence and classroom sense meet self taught philosophers and the practical hands on the streets, a cetain unique flavour emerges. Yesterday’s flavor has unfortunately left a distinctively sour test in my mouth. The fact that the Talaka is today his very own oppressor is a very bitter pill for some of us to swallow. And even more bitter is the second fact that the second on coming liberation of the Talakawas (from themselves this time around) will have to invent it’s devices with no NEPU/PRP emotional relic to rely on.

This, on a very personal note, was a befitting way to round off my three weeks extended sallah visit in Jigawa.

Dr. Muhammad was Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Federal Minister of Information as

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