A bill to establish a commission to tackle Almajiri and other out-of-school children has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Shehu Kakale (PDP, Sokoto) and 18 others, scaled the hurdle on Wednesday after the debate on its general principles.
In his lead debate, Kakale explained that the bill seeks the establishment of the National Commission for Almajiri Education and Out-of-School Children to provide for a multi-modal system of education to tackle the menace of illiteracy.
The senator said the alarming rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria calls for drastic action.
He explained that the commission will also “be responsible for providing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes development for children and teenagers through schools to reduce the rate of poverty, and lessen delinquency and destitution in Nigeria.”
“Almajiris will receive sound education that will shield them from exploitation by criminal elements”, he said.
Speaking in support of the bill, Sen. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), said tackling Almajiri and out-of-school children is consistent with the Peoples Democratic Party. He reminded his colleagues of the intervention by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, who built some schools for the Almajiris.
In the end, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, threw his weight behind the bill and encouraged members to support the bill.
The bill was passed for second reading about 24 hours after former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, had issued the warning that the over 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, which constitute almost 10% of global statistics, were potential terrorists.