Nigeria News

Life And Love of Almajaris In Nigeria

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Nigeria News takes a look at the life of Almajaris in the South.

Proscribing Almajaris in Nigeria is like making life more difficult for the very poor in the country. These set of people have found solace in alms begging and to them, it is religious to do so.

The presidency has since denied the plan to get rid of this culture but to only look for a way to integrate the children of the Almajaris into the educational system of the country.

If proscribing the Almajaris is the plan of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, the administration should have a deep thought on this before proclaiming Almajaris as illegal trade.

A group of northern youths once rebuked the culture of alms begging by the very poor northerners, saying it is unacceptable and calling on the government to abrogate it.

But looking at these people from another angle, it has been observed that the Almajaris in their poor state have contributed more to the success of many political elites in the north. Their votes come in millions. They are the political thugs that the politicians rely on to steal ballot boxes. But this government is thinking of how to stop this alms begging trade.

There are alms beggars in the South too. Not all alms beggars are northerners. A visit to Ibadan, Oyo State has revealed to me that there are thousands of Yorubas in this trade.

Able-bodied persons beg for alms mostly at motor parks in Ibadan. Aged women and men are also involved in this trade.

In Lagos, there are corporate beggars who dress in suits and ties. They speak good English to attract passersby and humbly request for transport fares.

These corporate beggars are always pretending to be stranded. What differentiates northern beggars from Southern beggars is their mode of operations.

The Almajaris who reside in Lagos stay in groups, male and female. In the rain and sun; under the bridge and on the streets, waving to passersby for a gift.

They live in abject poverty, yet they are happy. They curdle their young babies right under the bridge. They do not look beyond the day they live. No plan of a good education, no plan to access good health care or better shelter, which the government is considering to do for them now. The question now is whether they are ready to embrace a new life.

Despite the effort of Lagos State Government to stop Street beggars, many of them still lurk around. They appear at mosques during Jumat service even though many of them hardly worship in a mosque.

But they are peaceloving people. The Almajaris in Lagos, though live in shanties, it is like heaven to them. Where people tag as hell is a haven for them. So far they can get water to drink and little food to eat, it is a nice day.

These are the set of people I think the government should help provide shelter for. Their children are learning this alms begging trade. The government should disengage these children and ensure that they are enrolled in public schools.

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