The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) vehemently condemns the gale of deportation of Almajirai across different states in Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country.
The party in a statement signed by Abiodun Bamigboye ,Acting National Chairperson and Chinedu Bosah National Secretary believes that the system of Almajiri in its current form requires a, genuine, comprehensive and more humane reform.
According to them, “The Almajirai phenomenon, just like the growing population of out of school children and child cult groups in the south is a product of fundamental contradiction of the society in which it thrives: poor education funding, abject poverty, wealth inequality and stitched social mobility.”
“It is obvious that the Nigerian capitalist ruling elites always shy away from addressing the root cause of the social menace bedeviling our country. In other words, their solutions are always ad hoc, cosmetic, superficial and, in most cases, deepen the crises they are out to solve.”
Sometimes in February, some Governors in northern Nigeria announced that they would ban street begging and, by extension, the Almajiri system. One of them went to the point of promulgating an Executive Order to outlaw it. The outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus has offered them an opportunity to demonize the Almajirai with a view to achieving this motive.
Following the deportation, some of Almajirai have tested positive for coronavirus. Yet, they are jam-packed in crowded camps in the receiving states. We condemn this lack of care for the health of these children.
Already, videos showing health workers allegedly from one of the States in north-west hunting Almajirai and forcefully taking them to the testing center have gone viral. Rather than take their sample to determine whether or not they are infected, every Almajiri sighted is considered as having the virus even before being tested! We condemn the ill-treatment and stigmatization of Almajirai.
The SPN strongly believes that deporting the Almajirai to their natal states neither mean taking them off the street nor will it bring change in their lives and still will not fundamentally address other menace attributable to this system.
The SPN calls on the northern governors to go beyond this display of haughty populism. Rather they should mobilize resources, as part of adequate funding of education, healthcare and basic amenities with a view to educate and care for all Nigerian children including the Almajiris.