Former President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday said his administration built the almajiri schools in the North because the almajirai made it look like Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
He said when he was starting the almajiri programme, he knew the northern state governors were unhappy even though they could not tell him.
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Jonathan spoke yesterday while delivering the graduation lecture to the participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course 14, 2021, at the National Institute for Security Studies, Abuja. He spoke on the topic, ‘Repositioning the Nigerian Economy for Sustainable Development: Challenges and Prospects.’
He said: “When I was in office, I had to step in at a time, to even attempt to build almajiri schools. I knew that some of the governors probably were not happy, but then, they didn’t tell me they were not happy.
“We used the Federal Government’s money from Universal Basic Education. It was just to partner with the state governments to create these learning environments, and I did that because of my knowledge about the ethno-religious crisis.
“My administration recruited these young guys who had no homes because of the traditional and almajiri education that is common in the North, they only train them on Islamic education, and at the end of the day, even their local governments don’t employ them.
“These are the people that made it look like we were sitting on a keg of gunpowder. That was why we started the almajiri programme”.
Jonathan described the almajiri programme as good, but said it should be modified based on the circumstances of every state.
“The governors should not just throw it out, they should look at it, modify it and run it in a way that we would not have these numbers of out-of-school children,” he said.
According to him, a nation that does not spend money to develop the youth and give them functional education will spend a lot of money in managing insecurity.
Jonathan urged the 36 state governors to allow local governments to “breathe”, saying “most of these security conflicts are happening because of the weakening of the lowest tier of government. The local government system that’s supposed to interface with the community directly and prevent this is dead in this country.”