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Emerging Social Almajiris In Yorubaland?

Emerging trend of social almajiri in Yorubaland

By Hakeem Jamiu

There is a social malaise which is gradually creeping into the lexicon of Yorubaland and this is the ugly spectre of hungry children begging for food and alms at social events. Older women are equally not left out in this ugly but strange practice in Yorubaland. It is strange in Yorubaland because the concept of almajiri which simply means street urchin is common in the Northern part of the country. Yorubas use to refer derisively to anybody soliciting for arms in Yorubaland in the olden days as almajiri. The almajiri of the North are usually children between the age bracket of 7 and 20 in most cases. Almajiris are so desperate for food that any unsuspecting visitor to the Northern part of the country who goes to a restaurant to eat but mistakenly left his food to wash his hands is likely to lose such to waiting almajiris before he comes back for the food.

I first noticed this ugly trend at a ceremony I attended a few months ago at Ayetoro Ekiti. Elderly and middle aged able bodied women from Kwara, Osun and Oyo states invaded the burial ceremony uninvited and were embarrassing guests who refused to give them money. Also noticeable were children with their begging bowls who thronged the venue of the ceremony soliciting for left over food and alms. The children were a pitiable sight. Poverty was clearly written on their faces. I have attended many social functions after that and the same trend was noticeable. But I became worried a few days ago, when I attended the burial ceremony of a friend's father in Ilesha , Osun State . They came in various groups and employ different methods in soliciting for alms. There were the elderly women who were busy harassing guests in the name of praise singing and would not leave until you part with money, there were the men with their public address system which they use in praise singing but which is disturbance and yet, there were Yoruba children in the mould of almajiris with their begging bowls scrambling for left-over and at the same time soliciting for alms.

Fellow guests on my table at the event who were also journalists expressed their concern in unison about the growing trend of almajiri of various categories in Yorubaland. They all agreed that it has become a social problem. We started discussing and realised that the culture of begging in the mould of almajiris is alien to Yoruba culture. In those days before the advent of the British, the Yorubas are a proud people known for their hard work and industry. They practiced hoe agriculture and were well known as traders and for their crafts. Yoruba artists have produced masterpieces of woodcarving and bronze casting, some of which date from as early as the 13th century. Many of Nigeria 's best-known artists and writers are Yoruba. Other occupation of the Yorubas at that time were drumming and masquerading which would now be called showbiz. They engage in all the foregoing occupation but a Yoruba man or woman (able bodied) would not beg for alms as it is considered shameful and something akin to a curse. The Yorubas cherish their oriki (folklore) which is a poetic version of eulogizing the exploits of their progenitors which is an incentive for them to excel and even surpass their progenitors. The Yorubas have harsh words for lazy people. Such people are objects of ridicule and butt of jokes in the society. With this background, it is understandable why we became worried with the array of beggars at the Ilesha ceremony.

After leaving the party, I reflected on the scenario of the almajiris in Ilesha and I was able to draw a relationship between Political almajiris and social almajiris. I discovered that social almajiri had its root in the advent of the politics of do -or-die introduced into the political lexicon of Yorubaland by apostles of mainstream politics especially ex-President Obasanjo. The grand Patron of political almajiris who recently passed away was Chief Lamidi Adedibu. Many have argued that his death has led to the proliferation of almajiris in Yorubaland. This is because those he hitherto dole handouts to must look for other means of survival since he is no more. These political almajiris are ready to exchange their mothers for few coins. A new political class of men without integrity and anything goes was created and they became political almajiris who survive on crumbs from their masters. They would rig, kill, maim and do all sort of things to acquire political power. With the ascension of these men in power, good governance became a thing of the past. Our collective patrimony was squandered by these political almajiris. Nigeria has never been so blessed with petro dollar with oil selling for $156 dollars per barrel but Nigeria has never been so poor with a chunk of the population living below poverty line. So versions of the political almajiris are the social almajiris that now invade ceremonies in Yorubaland. With these children begging for alms, a ready made market for thuggery and other social vices is assured. The activities of the beggars are not limited to parties. At bus stops in our cities, it is a common sight to see women most of who are still in their mid thirties, who would strap a baby at their backs and approach men with stories of despair to solicit for alms. Many of them would end up in bed with such men. This is another brand of alamajiri and these are Yoruba women. A violent version of almajiri but which is gradually being tackled in Lagos is the 'Area Boys' syndrome. These are Yoruba street urchins who are semi- armed robbers.

The underlying factor in this new trend is failure of the Nigerian State on one part and the laziness on the part of these women. Most of them don't want to work, In those days, when everybody's occupation was farming you dare not beg. You must find something to do. But these days, our women and children are too lazy. It is either they steal or beg. In most cases a mother and child become almajiris at social events. So the question now is can a Yoruba man now refer derisively to a Hausa beggar as almajiri when we have many of them now in Yorubaland? The answer is no! This trend must be arrested before it goes out of hand. The almajiris in the North these days engage in novel forms of drug abuse like sniffing of gutter water to get intoxicated, sniffing of adhesives and other drugs so that they are ever ready to unleash terror on the rest of the society whenever they are called upon to do so by the political wing of almajiris. I strongly recommend that guests at public functions must stop encouraging almajiris by giving them money.

But can government which itself owns the political wing of almajiris arrest this trend? Time will tell.

http://odili.net/news/source/2008/jul/9/221.html

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61 answers

better than Igbo 419, drug trafficking, armed robbery and kidnapping.

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Heaven only helps those who help themselves

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Good help those almajiros

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Yoruba people get sense 2 much. U posting tru tru bad news from Yoruba land dey atack you and dey no discuss the news at all at all. Ibo be mumu. dey discuss the news and leaving the Yoruba news carrier free of charge.

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abeg leave us to our shuffering and shmilling. the people that triedto break away from the manipulation before what did they get? betrayal and demonisation.

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Nigerians generally despise laziness, we abhor the thought that fully-grown healthy men or women would stoop to begging when there are means and ways to survive in Nigeria. We feel this way even informed by all the difficulty we know is manifest in the Nigerian society. Posters, Igbo and Yoruba alike have made so many good and impassioned arguments why Nigerians hate begging, why it should be condemned. To this, I would add that the mentality that leads a healthy individual to beg is the mentality that would lead them eventually to steal, disrespect women, culture and property. We do not as Nigerians want to condone this. Begging leads to general laxity and shows a bad example to the young.

In response, we as Nigerians have to find communal ways to help ensure that the very poorest can at least count on one good meal a day. We can’t allow ourselves for much longer to be distracted by the laziness inducing obsession with government. We have to look into our cultures to draw examples for when we reached out to assist the helpless. And  i was so hopeful that the debate would lead to ideas on what to do or how to tackle these growing incidences of begging until some of you guys once again allowed a couple of Niaraland resident foreigners to distract you into tribalistic cussing.

Have you noticed that nothing is discussed anymore on Niaraland? Every debate is sidetracked by a couple of morons into tribal cussing!

Don’t some of you participants in these tribal slinging matches ever feel manipulated?   Don’t you guys feel shame, don’t you ever envision some guys laughing and congratulating themselves that they still have the ability to divide and conquer?

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Okay Yoruba special in dirty, visa and certificate forge, gbomogbomo, kidnap ibos, corruption (Obasanjo, Bankole, Tafa Balogun, Sunday Afolabi, Sunday Ehindero, Bode George, Akuforiji, Tinubu ati be be lo) and shamelly begging junor officers after planning kup (Diya and Abdulkarim Adisa). Wetin you wan tell?

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my friend no need to be tense and emotional.

i am only talking about specialization.i know there are good and bad people everywhere.no doubt about that.i agree with you.infact some of the nicest people you can find in nigeria are igbos.also friends i have high regards for are igbos.

i just hope you would have shown this your high sense of fairness when others were busy making begging the specialty of other tribes.it is good you accept there is good and bad everywhere.that is enough said.

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U be mumu? Peope from every Naija Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa are bad or good. Ibo no get holiganism like Yoruba. Ibo no forge visa like Yoruba. Ibo no kidnap Yoruba in Iboland but Yoruba kidnap Igbo in Yorubaland. Ibo and Yoruba do juju togeda and carry drug togeda. Wetin you tell?

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we are talking here of specialization.since you guys have made begging the specialty of yorubas and hausas,i am only pointing out that igbos also have their specialTIES!!!!

do you also want me to search nairaland for the many threads igbos have starred in their specialties? or should we find the exceptional stories about igbos begging and post it?

definitely,the igbos are a proud and aggressive people who do not disrespect themselves by begging even though we could find exceptions among them.however the igbos specialize in other fields and have mastered those fields where other tribes can be seen as mediocres/amateurs.you can take as example the state of security in the east as a whole and tell us if i'm being biased or tribalistic.

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U wel so?

http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-813934.0.html

http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-812316.0.html

http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-810016.0.html

http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-805008.0.html

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so what about Igbo practice of armed robbery,hooliganism,kidnapping,drug trafficking and ritual killing ?

at least begging is still better than committing crime.begging is not a crime.it shows the sad reality of the state of affairs in the country.

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Why we can’t tax Osun people, by Aregbesola

By Adesoji Adeniyi 21 hours 46 minutes ago

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Rauf Aregbesola Rauf Aregbesola

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola at the weekend explained why his administration has refused to tax the people.

A[b]regbesola said his people are very poor and tax would be an unnecessary burden on them.[/b]

He spoke at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Osogbo, the state capital, during a dinner with representatives of various financial institutions.

The dinner was part of activities marking the one year anniversary of the Aregbesola administration in office.

The governor urged the institutions to assist in eradicating poverty in the state, assuring them of security and a business friendly environment.

He solicited for funds to finance capital projects and programmes that would improve the state’s economy.

Aregbesola said: “I am in Osun State to eradicate poverty. If you are talking about Unclad poverty, it is here in the state. We can not tax anybody here because we do not want them to die.

[b]

“Are we going to tax people waiting to die? [/b]We were able to save 13 million in the last year, not through tax, but by blocking leakages in the system. So you bankers have no choice than to help us deliver good governance to the people. We need your support to eradicate poverty.

“I am amused about the uninformed comments of our predecessor in office about the finances of the state. They are confused and cannot comprehend what we are doing because they are not financially literate.

“We have the vision, passion and action. I am here to change the fate of the black man through the various programmes and projects of our unusual and unconventional government.

“My predecessor left the state’s account in a bad state. We met a suffocating loan of N18.3 billion, which the Olagunsoye Oyinlola administration secured in an unprofessional manner.

“But within a year in office, my administration was able to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from N300 million to N600 million and pay the loan through the access of N25 million bond from the bank, with the monthly servicing of less than N100 million, instead of the N800 million used to service the former loan.”

The governor said his administration does not wait for the federal allocation before it pays its workers, adding that any state waiting for it is doomed.

He said states rejected the October allocation because of President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to deduct some amount from it for the creation of Sovereign Wealth.

Aregbesola said nobody has the right to deduct from any state’s allocation without the governor’s consent.

He advised state governments to exploit other avenues for generating revenue.

Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budgeting, Dr. wale Bolorunduro said the government plans to increase the IGR to N1 billion next year.

On incessant bank robberies in the state, Bolorunduro said the government has collaborated with security agencies to forestall a recurrence. He said the governor has ordered for five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and established a security trust fund to combat the menace.

Many of the bank executives acknowledged the governor’s passion for development and promised to support his administration.

They include: Ayo Abina, Skye Bank; Elias Akenzua, Zenith Bank; Akinleye Ogunleye, Diamond Bank; and Boyin Oladokun, Unity Bank.

http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news/27811-why-we-can%E2%80%99t-tax-osun-people%2C-by-aregbesola.html

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If you're asking me whether I like the state Nigeria is now, you shouldn't have because you know I despise Nigeria and nothing seems to work.

But if you ask me if some people are really happy retrogressing, then YES.

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One question and please be honest with urself

Since you are a Nigeria (I guess) are you happy with the state Nigeria is now ?

Forget whatever region

i am sure u have flew out of the country before and as such have been to the west or east, were you happy ?

If yes, then I have nothing further more to say

If no, then if u were not happy how do you expect the average man on the street to be happy.

You talk of statistics just showed everyone in Nigeria is suffereing and smilling thanks to years of mismanagement

even at that, it was necessary to be brought out given that people like you claim that other regions don't contribute to the Nations wealth of which you are trying to tell me again.

or am I saying rubbish here ?

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I meant there's no need reminding them of their economic state because they seem happy with it. There have been debates over this several times and some of them came up with statistics that can't be correlated with what's on the ground.

So they are happy with it.

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A beg, make una leave Yorubas alone.

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lol accusing igbos of tribalism even when the article was not writtten by an igbo man , besides he is telling us what we already know.

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bros you can say that again

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Igbos and tribalism!! 2BAD!!

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Hunger kills them in their own land?

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this almajiro thing is not a laughing matter ,its now affecting the south east they are trooping into anambra,rivers and enugu day by day, the earlier we all do something about the poverty rate in nigeria esp the north and SW the beter for all of us in naija. infact theres a cold war going on now in the SE/SS between nigerian almajiros and somalians .you people might think its funny but its going to affect all of us soon.

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You mean Fulanis who crossed Ekiti border?

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These are not hausa almajiris. These are Yoruba . Please read the first post before you comment

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Have they checked SW almajiris in other states too?

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And how does that sound to you? Pleased? Then give it a rest.

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When did Laurel, Maryland US become Igboland?

I live in Lagos all my life, and I am telling you that there are Igbos in Lagos who beg for money, just as how there are Hausaa and Tivs and the rest. It is not an epidemic, but it is certainly becoming an eyesore.

Irrespective, people will do anything to survive, including begging, and like everyone else, Ibos beg!

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That would be a lie. I have NEVER seen an Igbo beggar in Igboland. Why would they start begging in another man's land? Igbo culture is not based on begging. You either work, or die. That is the simple thing we do. To beg is beneath us. An Igbo man would move in with his extended family and do chores around s house instead of begging. Igbos have preventing of proverbs concerning beggars and none of them are good. There is no type of social welfare in Igboland. Work, work and more work is the philosophy.

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Most of the Almanjiris is Yorubaland are Igbos!

I am not making this up. It is welll documented.

Yorubas do not beg, they are upstanding members of the society.

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Are the almajiris still there? Poverty wan kill awon omo Awo

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The boldened is by your personal statistics thru your keyboard

Nigerians/Africans are polygamous.

Every living man is polygamous by nature, if given same measure of wealth, exposure, freedom etc and no culture in Nigeria/Africa opposes polygamy. But thanks to the new generation men and Christianity.

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thank u my brother

some people think this is an ethnic problem but it deeper than that

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Onlytruth, you should be honest with yourself for once. Some might just wonder whether there is a preference for armed robbery and kidnapping among the down trodden in your neck of the woods, as opposed to begging. Either way, thank your stars that you were born into your family by the accident of birth and nothing else. You are no better than the almajiris who you are poking fun of.

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Stop deceiving yourself.

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I see that you are mentally challenged. You said Igbo can do anything for money, unlike Yoruba. So I asked you if begging is not doing anything (something) for money?

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mumu did anyone say igbos beg for money

why do like twisting words

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In the pictures I posted, I don't see any beggar in site, yet these are ordinary folks hustling to survive.

That is why my God will always fight their battles for them.

You do your part, God happily does the rest.

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anything for money? Do you know the loss of self respect and self pride involved in begging, especially if you are not physically/mentally handicaped?

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@ ndu_chucks,

Everybody is hustling in Igboland. EVERYBODY.

NO HAND OUTS. It is called surviving. My own God does not support laziness.

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ok we know yorubas are sometime lazy people who would perfer to be a tout or beg if the job given to them is not good enough

unlike the igbos that would do anything for money

how do tend to tackle that

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How much money do you need to start selling pure water? Or to cook and prepare food on the roadside? Or to move to a village and work as a farmer? Or to work as a security man? Or cook? Or houseboy?

I remember when I went to the market in Abuja (Otako market, iirc?), there would be little kids with wheelbarrows who helped people move the goods they bought from the market to the car.

There is nothing wrong in my opinion with doing hard jobs that others find undesirable. You can start from the bottom, work hard and rise. It might not even be in your own generation there is breakthrough, it might be only your grandchildren who are able to break through. But you have to start from somewhere.

Beggars contribute nothing to society, and we cannot encourage healthy and hearty people to be begging. It is madness and only leads to ruin.

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then again u are right but if there are no jobs to do and no money to even start a very small business like selling pur water

how do u expect them to survive

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sirdapo we can not read u postooo

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gbam who will not beg if they have no food to eat

who will not beg if there is no shelter

who will not beg if their children are hungry and begging their parents for food

i ask who

unless they want to start stealing

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Indeed. Who will not beg , wherever they are from, if dehumanised ?

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Yoruba almajiris.

Mu he he he

LOL

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Now they even have normadic schools in YORUBALAND. Almajirism has been FULLY welcome and incorporated as part of their culture. Welcome oh!

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One of the benefits that come from the north.

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