Banning street begging isn’t feasible – Muslim clerics

Muslim pupils in a Madrasah

Some Muslim clerics in Kano State have expressed disagreement with the directive by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to ban street begging among Almajiri children.

They spoke under the aegis of the Kano Council of Ulama on Wednesday in Kano, the state capital.

According to them, the move was not feasible and the government is not serious.

“To us at the Council of Ulama, the government cannot do it and is not serious about it,” chairman of the Council Sheikh Ibrahim Khaleel said.

“They are just doing it to appease their masters abroad, or get their money or some kind of noisemaking. Or they might have been accused of something from somewhere for which they simply organise a ceremony and that is all. That is our opinion,” he stated.

Recall that reported on Tuesday that Governor Ganduje banned street begging among Almajiri children as part of measures to ensure that they are integrated in the basic education system. He also deployed about 7,500 volunteer teachers to their schools to teach them core formal school subjects.

Khaleel opined that the steps towards curtailing the practice have not been taken.

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“The government is not serious and cannot do it because it has not taken the right steps to it.

The Chairman of the Ulama, who is also an advocate against street begging gave a brief history of efforts made in the past to curtail the menace and also insists that stakeholders must be involved.

Khaleel further suggested methods through which the menace could be resolved by insisting that all forms of street beggars be identified and stakeholders be involved.

“The right steps to follow in banning street begging include firstly, the Quranic clerics involved have to be identified. Because there are street beggars who are Quranic students, there are beggars who are sent by their parents from the rural areas to come and be begging in the urban areas, there is also begging engaged in by some physically challenged individuals.

“All these forms of street beggars need to be identified and each one be addressed accordingly. But they have not done that.

“So, for the ban to work there has to be a cooperation between the government and the Quranic clerics.

“You have to sit with them and understand why they engage in begging, get some statistics, know the total number of those engaging in street begging among them.

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“If you identify all these, it is then that you will come to know exactly beggars that are not Almajiri Quranic students.

“More so, you cannot stop begging in the state without joining hands with the neighbouring states.”

“If you recall there was the case of a man who just sent three of his children to the city to be begging for sustenance because he wanted to place his new wife in the room they were occupying. You can see that these kids are not necessarily Almajiris or Quranic pupils.

“Therefore, you need statistics of the real situation, know the total number of the Quranic teachers, the total number of the Quranic schools and their pupils, know exactly who the real Almajiris are first. You will then know their needs understand their problems and then proffer the right solutions. You can decide to cater for them or send them back to their homes. But you have not conducted all these.”

He, therefore, called on the government to consult the right persons and stakeholders in finding the right and permanent solution to the problem.

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