Almajiri Menace: Katsina takes measures with an Edict

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RESPONSIBLE PARENTING/ALMAJIRI RIGHT PROTECTION EDICT

This is an Executive Edict aimed at protecting the rights of every child born by any parent from Katsina state or born anywhere in Katsina state by any parent from 0-18 years.

1. Definition: For the purpose of this edict, a parent is defined as the biological father and mother or a guardian to whom the child is related biologically or any person other than the above, socially responsible for the child, as witnessed by the traditional authorities, Mai unguwa, Magaji, Hakimi, Sarki or its equivalent in the area of birth or domicile.

1.01 Child is here defined as one person or more biologically fathered by a man and a woman legitimately derived through a social contract or otherwise legally adopted from 0 years to 18 years.

1.02 Malam is, for the purpose of this edict, defined as the head of the Makarantar Allo directly responsible for the Makaranta either by ownership, superior knowledge or age to whom all children report to.

1.03 Makarantar Allo means a non formal setting where children are imparted Islamic knowledge in a traditional way.

2. There shall be established a Department, Board or Commission to be called Almajiri Rights Protection Department/Board/Commission.

2.01 The Almajiri Rights Protection Department is to be headed by a Director with a full complement of structural organs to be run as a full fledged independent department.

2.02 The department is to have offices across the 34 local governments of the State or in the alternative use the Social department staff of every local government in the state for the purpose of its duties.

3. Responsibilities: For the purpose of this edict, it is hereby declared that parents are responsible for the upkeep of their children/ dependents from 0-18 years.

3.01 Training of a child/dependent is the sole responsibility of parents except where it is outsourced under terms that do not infringe on the God given rights of the child/dependent or where the said child or dependent is not disadvantaged compared to his/her peers studying under conditions prevalent in western oriented schools.

3.02 No child should be sent away from his parents to Makarantar Allo far from his parents and area of birth except under the following conditions:

 I) That he is 12 years and above and under such circumstances where he is mentally and physically certified fit to look after himself.

 ii) That the parents are willing to provide for his/their daily upkeep under the Malam to whom the child is entrusted. This includes provision of sleeping materials, clothing and feeding.

iii) Alternatively where by mutual consent between the parents/guardians and the Malam, the Malam posses the financial capability to provide for the child the items listed in ii above without compromising the dignity of the child or subjecting the child to indecency, the parents/guardians can enroll the child/children in such makaranta.

iv) All children to whom ii and iii above are not available must study within their environments commuting from home to the Makarantar Allo as determined by the timetable of the Makarantar Allo.

v) No Malam should accept to take under his permanent care a child or children except under the following conditions:

  a) The Makarantar Allo has capacity for the number of students it has taken in the provision of decent sleeping quarters, hygiene and feeding.

  b) Undertaking from parents of total daily responsibility of their children/dependents except where the Malam has waived such responsibility from them by signing a legal ‘Children Indemnity Agreement For Decent Upkeep’.

  c) Mandatory periodic visitations by parents for the purpose of interfacing with the children to assess their development.

 d) Every Makarantar Allo must register with the local government branch of the Department and must accept periodic inspection from the department within every month for the purpose of ensuring that it is operating within the set guidelines and standard.

 e) Children from outside Katsina state whose parents are not within the jurisdiction of this edict cannot be admitted in any Makarantar Allo across the state except where the Malam accepts total responsibility of parenthood upon which all conditions as listed above will ipso facto apply to him wholly.

 f) No child/Children of Katsina parents should be sent to any Makarantar Allo outside Katsina state except he or she is above 12 years and must obtain the written consent of the mother of the child/children to be endorsed by the ward head.

4. Penalty: Any failure or infraction willfully or otherwise by the parents or the Malam or the Makarantar Allo itself will attract a fine of N250,000 or a jail term of 6-12 months or both.

5. The State Government on its part will ensure that all children legally enrolled in Makarantar Allo far from their parents are provided medical facilities under the NHIS scheme.

6. From time to time the State Government may intervene in the provision of assistance to these makarantu to augment their capacity and capability to provide and impart Qur’anic education to the children. 

7. Every child must have two files, one in the Makarantar Allo and one with the local government department.

8. Moratorium: All Makarantun Allo, from the day this edict come into force, must return children, not resident within the area and to whom the Malam cannot provide items in 3.02 above, within 2 months to their respective parents to be enrolled in makarantu nearer home.

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