Almajiri in Nigeria

They wander about for food and growl if they are not satisfied.” Psalm 59:15

He dipped his right hand into the pink plastic bowl. Then, he fetched some palm-oiled concotioned rice, tilted his head slightly backwards to allow his hand drop the meal into his mouth. He noticed that I was watching. He smiled releasing some droplets of the red oil on his jaws. The friendly eye contact drew me closer. His trousers were of unequal length and a different shade from the V-neck top. I guess the original colour must have been white, it is now looking palish brown.

“I am fourteen years old. My mother has eight of us for my father who has eleven other children from two other wives. I am the fifteenth of the nineteenth children. My mother enrolled me in the Quranic school when I was four. The Malam teaches us from the holy book though we do more of memorising it. To survive daily, we are sent into the streets where we fend for ourselves by appealing to kind hearted people to give us money. But our main need is just food; so we often go around restaurants hoping to have something to eat.” Sani said looking helpless. It is obvious he would have preferred a better life if only he knows how to arrive at it.

Such is the fate of about eight million mostly male children and teens and popularly found on the streets in most northern cities and towns in Nigeria. They are popularly referred to as Almajiri, an Hausa word derived from the Arabic word Al-muhajir meaning someone who migrates from his home in search of Islamic education. They are under the tutelage of an Islamic teacher (Malam). When not engaged in learning, they are found on the streets usually begging or roaming around in search of food. Religious extremists find them easily accessible and available to use for their ulterior motives.

Please Pray

  • Ask the Lord to show forth His mercies on many trapped in the Almajiri system.
  • Pray for divine encounters for the boys as they roam about in search of livelihood.
  • Beseech the Lord to bring hope and grace unto these ones and that their lot may not be destroyed.

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