The roaming threats: The security dimension of Almajiris’ mobility in Nigeria and its implications for Africa’s regional security
[ 1 ] Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Nigeria
- International security
- National security
EN The culture of children begging for alms in Northern Nigeria is long-established and is propelled by poverty, ‘parentlessness’, the absence of parental care and, most importantly, the Islamic doctrines of ‘giving’ to children who are made to seek for qur’anic education outside their parents’ homes. The prevalence of these ‘almajirai’ in Northern Nigeria has begun to create new security dimensions as a result of their mobility given the context of their recruitment into terrorist sects such as Boko Haram and ISWAP. Almajirai have also indulged in drug addiction, street pickpocketing, and other urban crimes. Their mobility has constituted threats for transmission of dangerous communicable diseases such as Corona Virus-19 or what is known as COVID-19. This paper examines the non-military security dimensions associated with the mobility of wandering children beggars or what are often regarded as the Almajiris in Nigeria’s northern states. It examines the level of security threat that the Almajirai pose to the Nigerian state and what implications their mobility has for Nigeria’s internal security, especially in the age of international migration and globalisation. Further, the article analyses the dynamic ways in which the mobility of the Almajiris has threatened the security of the neighbouring states of Chad and Niger as well as West Africa’s regional security in general given its proximity and socio-cultural linkages. The paper employed secondary sources of data collection. It concludes that the mobility of Almajirai poses serious internal security challenges for Nigeria as it serves as a fertile ground for terrorist breeding and radicalization. Disease contraction and transmission, urban crimes such as car-hijacking tactics, pickpocketing, and criminal surveillance of potential innocent targets have become associated with their mobility; hence, regional security is endangered as a result of their increasing crossing of the loosely guarded Nigerian border to the Lake Chad area and West Africa.
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