The Federal Government has begun community engagement dialogue to create awareness on legal identification of Almijiri children in five local government areas of Kaduna State.
It is doing this through the National Orientation Agency, with the State Director of the agency, Alhaji Zubair Galadima-Soba, saying this during the community engagement dialogue on Tuesday in Zaria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Hausa word Almajiri is derived from the Arabic word “Al-Muhajirun,” which refers to a person who migrated his home in search of Islamic knowledge.
Almajiri refers to children usually from poor rural backgrounds, who leave their homes to study in non formal Qur’anic school in urban areas.
The term also refers to any young person who begs on the streets and does not attend secular school.
According to Galadima-Soba, the engagement dialogue is designed to sensitise the communities on legal identification of almajiri children to mobilise participation in the exercise.
He said the exercise would be conducted in collaboration between the agency, the National Population Commission (NPC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The director said the exercise focused at sensitising community and religious leaders in Ikara, Lere, Kubau, Igabi and Zaria.
Represented by MrYusuf Balarabe, UNICEF Focal Person in the state, the director said the exercise would also capture out-of- school adolescent girls in the selected LGAs.
“A recent survey shows that Ikara, Lere, Kubau, Igabi and Zaria LGAs has the largest number of Almajiri children in the state who have not been registered with NPC.
“We are here to sensitise you as community leaders so that you can pass the message across the Qur’anic schools known as Tsangaya, to allow the population commission register the Almajiri under them,” he said.
Hajiya Halima Jega, Director Vital Registration of Birth, NPC, described birth registration as important in showing that the child exist.
Jega, represented by Nuruddeen Shafi’i, said the registration exercise would last for eight days, and urged traditional leaders to enlighten their subjects to get registered.
According to him, birth certificate issued by the commission is the only certificate recognised by the Federal Government.
“We want to register 6,000 children in Zaria, therefore, we need the support of religious leaders and traditional leaders so that the exercise would be successful,” he said.
Earlier, NOA Community Mobilisation Officer in charge of Zaria, Aminu Alhassan recalled that similar exercise had been conducted in the area in 2020.
He urged participants to use the opportunity to register their children for free, adding that it may not be free in the future.
Meanwhile, some of the participants commended NOA, NPC and UNICEF for the gesture, adding they were now more informed on the importance of birth registration.
Malam Muhammad Musa, Secretary, Fitiyanul Islam, a Faith Based Organisation (FBO), said the association would mobilise Qur’anic schools for the exercise.
Binta Yunusa, a Women Leader in Tudun Wada community, said she would ensure women register their children with the NPC including those attending Qur’anic schools.
NAN reports that the participants drawn from Dakace; Gyallesu,Tudun wada, Kwarbai A, Kwarbai B and Limancin Kona communities attended the exercise.