The Precarious State of The Almajiri in Nigeria
By Buhari Danboyi, Kaduna
The cases of rape in Nigeria is on the increase, hardly a day passed by without news of such victims. Recently, it was reported that a seven year old Almajiri (boy) was repeatedly raped by a homosexual fish seller at Maraban Jos in Kaduna.
Also in Lafia, Nasarawa state, a man named Shahidu Suleh was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a supposed student (Almajiri) Okasha Ishaka, he brought from Kano for Islamic education.
The boy, according to report, told security agents that the man repeatedly had sex with him and threatened to kill him if he exposes him.
The Almajiri child is a victim of parental carelessness,parents that are yet to grasp the essence of child birthing and responsibility and as such gives out the child at a very tender age for religious education and there after to fend for himself through begging for arms.
This scenario put the Almajiri in a precarious situation and making him an easy prey. The Almajiri child is a victim of neglect and abuse. He is denied a normal and descent upbringing.
The Almajiri boy that was serially raped was lured by fish head from the fish seller. According to the boy “any time he does it, he gives me fish head to eat and being an Almajiri that is a delicacy for me so I did not tell anyone about it”.
The culture of Almijiri is cruel and backward. The culture has being cruelly persistent in Northern Nigeria. And seemingly, it may outlive this generation too.
The Almajiri child in the course of begging for arms, away from his parents is left to his devices and exposed at a very tender age. The case of this Almajiri boy is one among many, due to stigmatisation associated with rape when reported, the victims are always ashamed to come out as study has shown.
The Almajiri system therefore, is in need of an intervention programme. The recent call by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, for a law to regulate marriage for more than wife for the poor is a welcome development.
The law tend to make it mandatory for men seeking to marry more than one wife to satisfy certain conditions, people need to keep family they can plan and are ready to cater for.
The government also need to wakeup to her responsibility. The government need to start re-strategizing in order to see that the Almajiri system conforms with modern practice or be discarded. And educate the public on the need to have a planned family.
Also, severe laws and punishment need to be administered to rapist as such will serve as deterrent.
Buhari Danboyi is an intern with Newsweb Express, sponsored by African Media Development Foundation (AMDF).