The roaming threats: The security dimension of Almajiris’ mobility in Nigeria and its implications for Africa’s regional security
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Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Nigeria
Oluwasola Festus Obisesan   

Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 20, Faniran Crescent, Opa-Store Afeki Road, ile- i, 220213, Osun state, Nigeria
Submission date: 2021-01-13
Acceptance date: 2021-03-23
Online publication date: 2021-03-31
Publication date: 2021-03-31
Security and Defence Quarterly 2021;33(1)
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’ and ‘madrassas’ responsibility for qur’anic education and followership. The prevalence of these ‘Almajiris’ in Northern Nigeria in recent times has begun to create a new security dimension as a result of the mobility of these children, especially in the context of their recruitment into terrorist sects such as Boko Haram and ISWAP; street pickpocketing, urban crimes and more importantly the transmission of dangerous diseases such as COVID-19. This paper examines the non-military security dimensions associated with the mobility of street beggars or what are often regarded as the Almajiris in Nigeria’s northern states. It examines the level of security threat that the Almajiris 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 the Almajiris poses serious internal security challenges for the component states that Nigeria is composed of, especially because of the fertile ground for terrorist breeding and radicalisation, disease contraction and transmission, urban crimes such as car-hijacking tactics, pick-pocketing, and criminal surveillance of potential innocent targets while endangering regional security as a result of their increasing crossing of the loosely guarded Nigerian border in the Lake Chad region.