Street children, a time bomb

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I cannot imagine that in the 21st century Nigeria, with the abundant natural and human resources Nigeria is blessed with, with the high number of men and women of great financial and economic muscle, education, intellectual capacity, traditional and religious fathers, the streets of Kano and indeed most northern states are littered with street children begging for alms, begging and scampering for what to eat, they have no home, no opportunity for medical attention when sick, no hope for education or any kind of training.

It is more saddening that our leaders, military or civilian since 1960, had always made promises, shouted on top of their voices, campaigned vigorously at their desire to end poverty and improve the lives of the masses.

But the confirmation till date is more of woes, illiteracy, sickness, poverty, squalor, backwardness. While our leaders keep getting fat and healthy, the led keep getting thinner and sick.

This problem must be tackled headlong for solution to arrest the time bomb that may explode in the nearest future.

According to the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, in a presentation recently, investing in the education of these children is the sure bet at controlling and avoiding imminent destruction of the north.

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He told his gathering that no leader should be happy with about 87 percent of poverty in Nigeria being in the North or be happy with millions of northern children out of school with no hope of ever attending school.

The callous abuse of the fundamental human rights of our young ones calls for quick intervention from the authorities. The total neglect and lack of commitment to the plight of these minors is highly unfortunate.

As it is, Almajiri is the face of poverty; it is un-Islamic, against all logic. This is time for President Muhammadu Buhari to put measures that could possibly banish, or again re-define the whole idea of the present Almajiri system in modern day Nigeria to save the country from massive humanitarian crisis.

The time has come for the federal and state governments to demand for the registration of these Koranic schools for easy identification and monitoring.

The street children issue is not a northern problem that must be left for the north but a problem bedeviling Nigeria.

The children did not prepare for such condition that has befallen them, they were biologically given birth to like all humans, they are innocent, the government and elites in the society must do something to save these children’s tomorrow.

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These children are usually recruited by evil minds to cause mayhem to the rest of the society. It then requires that all leaders, at all levels, from all parts should put religion and ethnic sentiments behind and approach this upheaval without delay.

The late Yoruba sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said; if the children of the poor are left uneducated by the rich, then the rich should expect these uneducated children to visit their educated children tomorrow with anger and brutality.

Education takes away poverty, ignorance, disease, sickness, backwardness. Education adds value to life, makes one think critically, abolishes poverty, brightens the future, cures sickness. Education brings development to a society; it is a springboard that catapults a people to greatness.

Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto diocese came up with a laudable initiative to help train about 10 million Almajiris.

But his noble idea and effort was condemned by Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC). It wonders sane minds why it is okay for children of Muslim elites to be sent to schools established by missionaries but abnormal for children of the less privileged to be trained in same.

The erudite Emir of Kano attended a Catholic boarding primary school and, he is still one of the most knowledgeable Emirs in Islamic teachings.


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