The Taraba State Government on Monday rejected several ‘almajiri’ children transferred from Nasarawa State.
Almajiris are children who are sent to live with Islamic clerics to learn about the religion. However, many of them end up on the streets where they beg for food and other necessities. The practice is common in Northern Nigeria where thousands of almajiri children roam the streets, lacking education and other basic necessities of life.
The almajiri children reportedly arrived the Taraba capital, Jalingo, from Lafia, Nasarawa’s capital, on Sunday alongside officials of the Nasarawa State Ministry of Women Affairs.
The kids had to sleep outside the office of the Secretary to the Taraba State Government and were only attended to at 10 a.m. on Monday.
Turned back
Multiple sources say that the returning children were later asked to go and stay by the signboard welcoming travellers into the capital along the Jalingo-Wukari road to wait for the officials of the state.
The officials from the Taraba SSG’s office later arrived at ‘welcome to Jalingo’ (billboard) at about 12.45 p.m. where they formally rejected the children with a letter addressed to the Secretary to Government of Nasarawa State with instructions to the officials to take the children back.
The letter from the office of the Secretary to Taraba State government, dated May 4, 2020 with reference no SSG / ADM/ S/ 167/ 11/ 125 was signed by one Sunday Maiyaki, Permanent Secretary Political Cabinet Affairs and General Services.
The letter read in part:
“The unphysical verification the number of pupils brought to Taraba State are 79 not 102 as stated in the letter brought from Nasarawa state.
“The government of Taraba State wish to return the pupils to you and requests that the pupils should be properly profiled indicating their local government of origin in Taraba State and ‘individual status’ in respect of the pandemic.”