The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, on Wednesday, suspended the planned expulsion of street children known as almajiri from the state.
He also said the state would welcome any almajiri, expelled from any state with open arms.
Since the coronavirus broke out across states in Nigeria, many governors have expelled these street kids, seeking Islamic knowledge, to their respective states of origin. This has been condemned by many.
Many of the street kids have also been infected by the virus which has killed over 200 persons in Nigeria.
The northern governors are currently putting in place measures to ban the controversial almajiri system.
‘We welcome you’
But the Zamfara governor’s spokesperson, Yusuf Idris, in a statement quoted his principal as saying, “my administration will not repatriate any almajiri from the state, all those repatriated from other states can come to Zamfara and will be accommodated.
He said the governor changed his earlier position following a meeting with three Islamic scholars, “Abdullahi Dallah-Dallah and Chief Imam of Sambo Dan-Ashafa Jumaat Mosque, Gusau and Sheikh Bello Kanwa who paid him Sallah homage at his country home, at Maradun.”
The governor also announced the scrapping of the committee he earlier constituted for the repatriation of almajiris from the state.
He said the decision followed “a careful study of almajiri system in the state which only needs to be integrated into western education for the purpose of acquiring qualitative education in both western and Islamic knowledge”.
He said he cancelled the repatriation idea in order to give the almajiri “a sense of belonging and reduce the stigmatisation meted on the Almajiri Islamic teaching and learning in the country”.
He added that “almajiri have a right to quality education at all levels of governance in the country, Zamfara State inclusive.”
He said his administration is working hard to come up with a reform that will integrate almajiri system of education “into a more attractive and more accepted way not repatriation“.
Earlier in their separate speeches, Messrs Dallah-Dallah and Kanwa commended the governor for his decision.
They urged him to maintain positive leadership “that will cover everyone irrespective of his political or religious interest”.