“The practice of the Almajirai, is far from being a reflection of Islamic ideals. It is an erroneous belief to say that the Almajirai are truly students of Islamic knowledge.”

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, said this while lamenting the socio-economic challenges posed by the Almajiri children.

He described the system of education prevalent in northern Nigeria as un-Islamic.

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Almajiris, referred to as street urchins, are found in most urban centres across the north; they solicit for alms and are involved in various levels of study of the Muslim Holy Book, under the guidance of scholars, popularly called Mallams.

Masari, who spoke during conclusion of the 10-day 32nd edition of the Annual National Koranic Recitation Competition in Katsina State, said the Almajiri system was far cry from Islamic tenets.

The governor regretted that rather than become responsible persons in society, some of the products of the Almajiri education system actually end up as religious extremists, and later transform into deviant religious groups in Nigeria.

“We must go beyond rhetorics and find a permanent solution to the Almajirai issue and the solution is not in abolishing it, but in reforming it to meet present day realities.

The religion of Islam is a comprehensive way of life and it is dynamic in its approach to both spiritual and mundane affairs," he added.

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