SAD!!! Northern Children Return To The Streets To Beg, As The N15 Billion Almajiri Schools Built By Jonathan, Collapse Under Buhari’s Watch

By Post Nigeria November 27, 2017 12:15

SAD!!! Northern Children Return To The Streets To Beg, As The N15 Billion Almajiri Schools Built By Jonathan, Collapse Under Buhari’s Watch

Recent investigation reveals that the state of the Almajiri Integrated Model Schools built during the tenure of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, are in ruins.

The former President, launched the programme on April 10, 2012, at Gagi, in Sokoto State, where he registered 25 pupils in the new Model Boarding School, equipped with modern facilities.

It was the first of 400 of such Schools to be built in the Northern States, for which the then Federal Government had planned to spend about N15 billion.

However, five years after, findings reveal that some of the Schools have been converted to Conventional Schools, while others are replete with decaying facilities.

1. Zamfara

In Zamfara State, the Almajiri schools have been converted into Conventional Secondary Schools, Daily Trust’s findings reveal.

Investigation reveals that the school in Talata Mafara Local Government Area, was converted into a Command Science Secondary School, while the one in Damba, was converted into a Government Girls Secondary School.

When contacted, the State Commissioner for Education Alhaji Muktar Lugga said:

“When we came on board, we took over the Almajiri Schools and converted them into Conventional Schools, and even when we did that, we encapsulated the objectives for which the Schools were established, because nothing has been done outside the original plans”, he said.

He said they took the decision because the structures put in place were rottening away and deteriorating, and could not be allowed to waste.

Asked about the fate of the teeming Almajiris in the State, the Commissioner responded: “Why are you taking us back? Who is Almajiri if I may ask? I think Almajiri means student. Let me tell you, in our educational system we have a curriculum designed to take care of Almajiris at basic education level.

“In our State, we have integrated Almajiri School system, our curriculum is reflecting that. It was a decision we had to take to meet the objectives of establishing those places, and we are still giving them education at basic level.”

An official at the State Universal Basic Education Board who craved for anonymity, said Amajiri Schools in the State were not put to use since they were built, adding that he could not tell why.

“I have learnt recently that the structures were taken over by the State Government and converted into Conventional Schools for boys and girls”, he said.

2. Sokoto

The first Tsangaya School commissioned five years ago in Sokoto State, by the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is not put to proper use, as seven of the ten classes in the School are unoccupied.

When contacted the Principal of the School, Mallam Hussaini, declined to comment on the condition of the School, saying that they were barred from talking to the Media, without a written permission from the Sokoto State Universal Basic Education Board.

The school had 260 pupils in 2015, mostly from Sokoto and the neighbouring States of Kebbi and Zamfara.

3. Kaduna

Almajiri Schools in Kaduna are characterized by lack of facilities, just as bed bugs have taken over majority of the Schools in the State.

The operators of these schools have also decried neglect by the present administration; saying that they got better attention under the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, administration.

4. Bauchi

Four Tsangaya Model Schools were established in Bauchi State, in 2012. They are located at Buzaye and Kangere, in Bauchi Local Government Area; Sade, in Darazo Local Government; and Azare, in Katagum Local Government.

The Buzaye Tsangaya School is located at about 15 kilometres outside Bauchi town, along Jos-Bauchi highway, at a village called Buzaye. It is situated at about 400 metres from the highway.

The School which presently accommodates 400 students brought from different parts of the State is fenced, and its frontage attracts instant attention.

The school has three dormitories, three blocks of four classes, and another three blocks of two classes, a language laboratory, Mosque, and a non-equipped, non-functional Clinic. It also has two recitation halls which are being used by the students.

One of the dormitories was partially burnt in a fire incident on 25th October, 2015, and was not repaired since then, despite letters and reminders sent to the Local Education Authority, LEA, and the State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, a source in the School confirmed.

“The incident compounded the problem we are facing in the School. We also do not have enough beds, mattresses and bedding, because they have not been added to the ones supplied since the establishment of the School”, the source added.

Also, the Language Laboratory is not functional, because the equipment needed have not been supplied and installed; likewise the Vocational Centre that is supposed to provide skills for the pupils.

The Clinic is also not equipped, and was turned into a toilet by the students who defecate on the floors, because of its proximity to the dormitories.

Some of the schools have broken ceilings, partially blown up roofs, broken doors and windows, lack of seats for students, and other challenges.

5. Kebbi

Many pupils in the Almajiri Schools in Kebbi State, roam the streets to seek for alms and food, as a means of survival.

Most of them are from villages in Kebbi, while others are from the neighbouring countries of Niger and Benin Republics. However, because of the poor state of the Schools, rather than attending their classes the children are sometimes seen engaging in casual labour, such as helping bricklayers or working in the farms for their survival.

When Journalists visited one of the special Schools for the Almajiris, in the Tudun Wada area of Birnin Kebbi, many of the pupils were said to have gone out to beg for alms and their breakfast. Only 9 out of the 104 pupils in the School were in their hostels and within the premises. The few that were available were looking tattered for lack of care. There were others waiting for alms by the school gates.

One of the pupils said that he came from a village in Jega area of the State to study at the School, adding that he and his peers go with bows seeking for food and alms, because they are responsible for their feeding and upkeep, even as pupils of the school.

An Islamic Scholar, Malam Saliu Magaji, revealed that though Islam spread to other parts of the country through the Northern region, the old practice of sending the male children to Arabic Schools without adequately catering for their needs, had been a serious issue but has nothing to do with Islam.

“We have Arabic Schools and Institutions in other parts of Nigeria, yet they did not turn their male pupils to beggars”, he said.

At Tudun Wada area of Birnin Kebbi, the Principal of the school, Malam Aliyu Abubakar, said: “I was posted here two months ago. I will tell you that the situation of things is bad here. Even though the School was established by the Federal Government to address the education of the Almajiris, we have series of problems here. We have only four Teachers attending to 104 pupils in the School, we have two classrooms, but only one is functional, and the 104 pupils are being taught in one classroom. We cannot afford feeding the pupils, they feed themselves.”

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri, during a Press briefing, said the State Government had partnered with UNICEF to collate a number of these Almajiris, and ensure that they were enrolled in Schools.

6. Kano

The Warawa Tsangaya Model Primary School, in Kano, is different. If not for the fact that the signboard at the entrance indicated that it is an Islamic School, one would have thought that it is the same private Conventional Primary School.

Investigations revealed that though no school fees is being charged; pupils in the School sleep on mattresses and mats bought by their parents.

Even though there is dispensary to take care of ailing pupils, the School maintained a first aid facility through resources from the PTA fund.

Although, the School is not connected to power supply.

Also, there are staff quarters, but only the Headmaster and some few staff stay in them. It was further revealed that the Library, Computer Laboratory, and Skill Training Workshop, were all locked up due to unavailability of working materials to support the operations. It was also gathered that the same situation is obtainable in Kibiya and Tsakuwa Islamiyya Model Primary Schools in the State.


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