By Abdul Mutallib Muktar
I read from today’s edition of Daily Trust how DSS rescued 21 Almajiris from a house under the custody of ECWA church in Jos North. The Almajiris were alleged to have been forcefully brought there from another state. After their rescue, the Almajiris revealed how they were forced to learn and practise Christianity.
Keep aside the pluralism of Nigeria and remember how Plateau State has been suffering from crises for over two decades. The major cause of these crises is undeniably attributable to religious divides.
Taking and camping children from another religion in the name of educating them without parental consent, especially when they’re forced to receive religious instructions and attend religious ceremonies or observance different from their own religion, is an act that clearly violates Section 38(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Therefore, the act of the Evangelical churches is constitutionally wrong. It is unacceptable in the eyes of the law. More so, looking at the situation in Plateau State, it is utterly unthinkable for the church to camp Muslim Almajiris without the consent of their parents or guardians and teach them Christianity or force them to attend church services. This act is akin to throwing an ember into a tank of fuel.
Looking at the issue from another angle, it behoves any fair pen, to tell the truth to the parents of these Almajiris. The remote places in the North still view the Almajiri system as a good way of learning merely because of its ancestral tint. It is highly condemnable to see little children roaming about the streets of our cities day and night, begging for food in the name of learning. Looking at the slavish lifestyle of Almajiris in Arewa, it will not be surprising if someone acts in the belief that the parents of these Almajiris have disowned them.
More strange news would continue to hit the headlines as long as the Almajiri system remains what it is today. However, as life changes, people must adjust to take a better breath.
Muktar writes from Jos, Plateau State and can be reached via email@example.com.