By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
Security has been tightened in Sokoto as President Goodluck Jonathan visits the state to inaugurate the Federal Government Model Almajiri School.
The Almajiri School project is part of the programmes initiated by the Federal Government to combat the poor education of youths in the North, which is believed to be one of the reasons for the security breach in that part of the country.
The police have mobilised about 5,000 men for today’s presidential visit.
The model boarding school with modern facilities is in Gagi in Sokoto metropolis.
The Federal Executive Council approved the construction of 400 Almajiri schools across the 19 Northern states.
Government is spending about N5b on the project.
The approval was in fulfillment of the promise by Jonathan to tackle the Almajiri syndrome in the Northern states by ensuring that millions of the street children get access to formal education.
The President insisted that the Almajiri syndrome was responsible for the high level of insecurity and other social menace in the North.
Minister of Education Prof. Ruqqayat Rufai, said the schools would be equipped with basic facilities to promote the learning of Islamic religious knowledge and western education.
Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike, who was directly supervising the project said 100 of the schools had been built and would be delivered before June.
The model school in Sokoto has among other facilities: language Laboratory, recitation hall, classrooms and dormitories.
Other facilities include: a clinic, vocational workshop, dining hall and mallam quarters.
Speaking on the project yesterday in Sokoto, the Director of Media in the Governor’s Office, Alhaji Hassan Maccido, said the people were excited by the inauguration of the school.
He said Sokoto occupied a strategic position in the Northern region and in Islamic education in particular.
Maccido said the Almajiri system of education at its inception was like the western convent where a child is trained with religious ethics.
“The essence of Almajiri schooling is to take your child from you to a school environment where a Mallam takes care of him, gives him education and moulds his character.
“The foundation is for the child to have an independent mind of his own and to be able to fend for himself.
“Unfortunately, the system came to be abused as what we see now is that a father takes child to Almajiri school headed by a Mallam who does not do the job right.
“When a child is in need, the Mallam sends him out to engage in all sorts of things,” he said.
He said the state had earlier taken pro-active approach to reposition the Almajiri system and returned it to its original state of a formal set-up where a child is trained in islamic education before western education school system.
Maccido said the state government had established a school which, at the moment, admitted about 1000 pupils from Sokoto and neighbouring States.
He said the state government is planning to build additional schools in all its senatorial districts to complement the Federal Government efforts.
Sokoto Police Commissioner, Alhaji Aliyu Musa, said yesterday that about 5,000 police personnel had been mobilised to provide security during President Jonathan’s official visit.
Musa told the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) in Sokoto that measures had been taken to provide adequate security.
He said that all the assistant commissioners of police had been assigned to each of the identified routes Mr President was expected to follow.
He said officers had been briefed on the security modalities they were expected to adopt during and after the visit.
“ All we expect from members of the general public is intelligence reports that will help us strategise our mode of operation in task of building a safe society, “ Musa said.
He called on the officers and men of the command to continue to put in their best as hard working ones would always be rewarded while the indolent ones ways be sanctioned.
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