by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The population of Almajiri Street-begging is rapidly increasing. Major streets are becoming busier by the day than before with ragtag children flocking together begging for arms, food and other necessities of life.
This is apparently owing to the continuous closure of schools due to incessant kidnapping and abduction of school children by bandits in Kaduna State.
Almost every major street inside Kaduna metropolis is covered, as Almajiri children, of ages below 12 are seeing begging for arms and food all over the metropolis.
Recalled that Almajiri system of education was banned by Kaduna State Government and begging of sort prohibited since the inception of the present administration.
Our correspondent, who monitored the incident in Kaduna Main Town, reported that recently, some Almajiri children narrowly escaped a motor accident along Muhammadu Buhari Way.
Trouble started when fighting ensued among Almajiri children over sharing of food gathered.
The incident, which occurred midday in front of New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) Mall, attracted a lot of surprises of passersby when some of them, without an iota of caution, ran into the direction of speed moving cars.
The ugly trend also caught the attention of many nearby shop owners, who witnessed the tragedy, on the duallized carriage on popular Waff Road. The incident was a stepping-stone from the entrance of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Council Secretariat, and some journalists were, therefore, attracted to the scene.
Indeed, the style of fighting of Almajiri children over food is something that attracted attention of some members of the fourth estate of the realm the more.
The children, who were seen happily moving and flocking together in large numbers, suddenly scrambled, and fighting started with the Almajiris hitting themselves in all directions in disorganized manner. The fighting was later attributed to wrong sharing formula and insufficiency of food to go round.
It took the quick intervention of a Good Samaritan from NNDC Mall, wearing a long white gown, who rushed to the scene, and dispersed the Almajiris.
The children, who went their ways in disarray, however, immediately converged again and took to another direction together singing songs of begging in Hausa language.
The State Government recently announced the shutting down of all schools, including some higher institutions, due to incessant kidnapping and abduction of children in both primary and post-primary schools across the state by bandits.
Students, who were yet to complete their examinations, were relocated from schools on the outskirts into the main Kaduna City to finish it, while wearing of school uniforms was also prohibited to avoid exposing pupils and students to kidnapers or bandits.
Although, the initial intention of the closure was to mark out time for some military exercise to secure prone areas in the state, it later turned indefinite closure as the banditry situation worsened and escalated.
Also due to the closure of schools and continuous staying back at home, the menace of children, who took to street-begging continues to increase even though, Islamiyya school children seem to have disregarded fears of banditry in some northern states like Niger, the premises remained closed.