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‘Alhamajiri ‘invasion’ in South East calls for concern’



THE recent influx of Alhamajiri into various parts of the country especially the South East has been a source of worry and concern to many people.

  Alhamajiri is an lslamic education practiced in Northern Nigeria and also the name of a young boy who is taught within the system. The male gender seeking for Islamic knowledge is called Alhamajiri while the female gender is Alhamajira.

  With the Eastern Nigeria known for commercial activities as a way of life that is totally different from what Alhamajiri system indicates for the youths of Northern Nigeria, the influx or migration of these group is a potential threat to the people of Eastern Nigeria. Citizens and orginsations have expressed fears and doubts concerning the coexistence of this group and those originally in the area.

Presenting his view on the issue to our reporter in an interview, an Abuja based media consultant , Chukwudi Ozalla, described the situation as worrisome.

  “It’s particularly worrisome given the fact that there is a subsisting nationwide ban on interstate travel occasioned by COVID -19 Pandemic outbreak except for essential workers and others listed. And the manner in which they were being conveyed raises not only suspicious concerns but motives behind such trips at a time like this. Every rational individual or a keen observer will query who are their sponsors? What are they going down in droves down South East in this lockdown to do? Who is accommodating them, etc? No doubt, there has been long mutual distrust between the Northern Region and South Eastern Region and series of unresolved post civil war crises ranging from religious intolerance, political, tribal, social and of late, herders-farmers clash. So, when you have such a large number of youths, regardless of what nomenclature (Almajiri) trooping into the South East under whatever guise, it will certainly make one to be worried. Freedom of movement is tied to good motive and above all, respect for the rule of law because I have heard people argue that anybody can move freely wherever he pleases. But in reality, that notion does not in any way fall in line with what is playing out. The world is a global village; people are also watching to see how the authorities will handle it. At least, if not anything, unravel the masterminds.

  On the issue of security, Ozalla said, “My opinion about security in the country is that in general terms, it is nothing to write home about. There is an increase in general insecurity in the country at the moment. Name it: Armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, communal clashes, rape cases, cultism, etc. I think the phrase that security is everyone’s business is not always true because in most cases, hapless citizens in the end pay dearly. Nevertheless, they can help security operatives to provide information. Security operatives on their part need to up their game by gathering intelligence reports; train and retrain their personnel to grapple with modern day security challenges. Periodic review of our criminal justice system is also needful especially for speedy prosecution and quick dispensation of justice. This will help to ease off congestion in our over-stretched correction facilities all over the nation that accommodate more of Awaiting Trial Men (ATM) than regular inmates.”

  Also speaking on the issue, Anambra State Motor Registrar, Patrick Chukwuka said, “It is really confusing. When you critically evaluate the situation, you begin to wonder what could be behind the facade. What will be the reason for the mad rush when people are kept indoors? But one is made to believe that there are more to it than meet the ordinary eye. Seemingly, the men in question cannot be taken for Almajiri but bandits and herdsmen. It is obvious, that the antics of the so called Northnerners is pregnant and cannot be deciphered at the slightest provocation. But we cannot fold our hands and watch them take us unawares; because, no matter the amount of colouration given to the situation, our lives are not safe. What will a fully fledged human be doing in forests?

   “People of South East and indeed all other people should protect themselves as enshrined in the constitution regarding self-defense. I think there are legitimate and well organised and also well regulated vigilante groups working hand in glove with security operatives. Beyond that, people should be very much aware of their immediate environment, observe strangers and strange faces, and discreetly find out what they do. Gather and share intelligence harmoniously, be your brother’s keeper, learn basic self-defense techniques to know what to do when you find yourself in danger. On a final note, people should be wise enough not only to learn how to watch and pray in order not to become prey. They should match it with legitimate actions, not taking laws into their hands.”

  He urged the governors of the South East to place all security apparatus to be on red alert as to checkmate their excesses.

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