Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has expressed disappointment over the seeming inability of some northern governors to halt the interstate movement of school-aged children, describing this as major obstacle to addressing the Almajiri problem in northern Nigeria.
Ganduje, who spoke on Monday at a media briefing to mark Democracy Day in the state, said that part of their decision reached by the northern governors was to come with a common legislation to restrict this movement, adding that many northern governors had failed to implement that decision
In his words: ‘The Almajiri problem is real problem, it is a big problem. What we anticipated was a decision by the northern state governments to have the same legislation preventing the movement of school aged children from one state to another. We have not succeeded in that.
‘Kano State, being the commercial nerve centre for the northern part of this country and for some Western African countries, we have children from over the northern part of the country, from Niger and from Chad coming to the state,’ the governor stated.
‘We have established three mega schools for Almajiria and we have completed these schools. But the children that we decided to return to their respective states, they come back to Kano even before our officials come back… because the correspondent states have not taken the issue of Almajiri as serious as we have done,’ he stated.
‘So, we have to go back to the drawing board, if I have to be frank with you… With the amount of insecurity all, we are handling this issue with care. But our enrollment is on, we have over 3,000 Almajiri in the state. Some we have taken back to the neighborhood schools. The indigenes of Kano have been taken back.
‘But the only problem we still have is that Almajiri that is coming from other state…. So, it is an issue that we cannot say we have succeeded. But since we have the political, we we will march on,’ said the governor.
Ganduje also appreciated the recent endorsement of a united Nigeria by different regional groups and socio= cultural bodies, namely Ohaneze, ACF, Afenifere and Middle Belt Forum, while expressing confidence that Nigeria would continue to be one indivisible country.
He observed that those who are calling for the secession and fragmentation of Nigeria were young people who did not experience the civil war, saying he was more attracted to the encouraging position of the elders of these regional groups than those of the young men.
Governor Ganduje charged the regional groups to come together and discuss with a view to converting these diversities and differences to opportunities for the unity of Nigeria.
‘Some of us believe that our diversity is a blessing this is because that each ethnic nationality in Nigeria has got some inherent trait which when properly harnessed would move Nigeria further,’ he stated.