Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, says most of the almajiri children who roam the streets in the northern part of the country are not Nigerians.
Speaking at a retreat organised by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Kano, on Monday, Ganduje said a survey conducted showed that most of the almajiris are from Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon.
He said free and compulsory primary and secondary school education, as well as the transformation of the almajiri education system, were some of his major priorities in the education sector.
“From the survey we have conducted, most of the almajiri roaming our streets are from Niger, Chad and the northern part of Cameroun,” Ganduje said.
“Once you improve the quality of almajiri education system, you are inviting other almajiri from other places to come to your state. That is another problem.
“The northern governors are putting more pressure toward having a universal legislation that will limit the migration from one state to another.”
Themed “Enhancing Basic Education in Nigeria towards a Robust Institutional Strengthening and Effective Stakeholder Engagement”, the governor said the retreat was “very important”, especially at this time that the country is gradually coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the education sector.
He also said the retreat is significant because it is coming at a time when education has become the first victim of uncontrolled population, especially when it is not matched with appropriate economic development.
Also speaking, Hamid Bobboye, executive secretary of UBEC, said the retreat was aimed at providing an opportunity for the board and management to brainstorm, exchange ideas and strategies toward moving basic education forward.
“We will also re-assess the legal framework, service delivery model, share emerging developments and trends, including global best practices, for better performance,” he said.
“This retreat could not have come at a better time than now when Nigeria and, indeed, the entire world, is facing a common enemy – COVID-19.
“The pandemic is serving as an eye-opener for all stakeholders in basic education.”
In April, as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, governors across northern states agreed to ban the almajiri system and evacuate the affected children to their parents or states of origin.
Some of the northern states, including Kaduna, Nasarawa and Kano sent the almajiri children back to their home states earlier in the year.
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