By; ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna
Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has decried the neglect and poor state of internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, orphans and widows, and called for a panel of inquiry to investigate how the committee set up by last government on Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs spent the resources generated.
Speaking Monday in Kaduna at a Muslim Stakeholders Strategic Dialogue on Orphans and Widows organised by the Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation in collaboration with the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), the Sultan urged Muslims to find solutions to the problem of IDP’s facing the Muslim Ummah.
He explained that millions of naira was donated by various government, non-governmental organisation, stakeholders and individuals while commissioning the committee and the challenges facing the IDPs were not yet solved.
He emphasized on the need for accountability and transparency in public fund and sympathized with victims of Boko Haram attacks and other clashes urging the Muslim Ummah within and outside the country to come to the aid of the Internally Displaced Persons.
“The Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council wrote a paper to Goodluck Jonathan when he was president of the country on the state of the nation and one of the points we raised was caring for the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East where we advised him to take care of things before they escalate.
“I don’t know if it was because of that paper that the presidency then launched an official fund-raising for the IDP’s where over N90 billion was donated on the spot at the fund raising because I was there physically. Where are the funds that were donated that day, these are the questions we need to ask our leaders.”
Noting that the whole aim of the fund raising has been defeated, Sultan said “Today our IDP’s are in a very sorrowful state, they are dying of hunger, they lack clothes and other basic human necessities especially with the harmattan that has come in, yet, so much was raised in their name that is yet to get to them.
“We, the Muslim ummah, need to wake up and help our brothers and sisters, we should not and must not leave all these problems in the hands of the government especially the government of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.”
In his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II said taking care of orphans is a must in Islam saying, “That is why Allah says when you find a child on the streets, you must take care of it as it is part of being a Muslim.”
He stressed that “Whoever eats out of the wealth of the orphans is eating for himself hell fire, because it is forbidden in Islam and the welfare of the orphans should not be compromised.
He called on Muslims to as a matter of urgency, see the plight of the IDP’s as their plight adding that they did not sign up to be in the position they have found themselves.
He admonished Muslims on the importance of catering for and counseling orphans, widows especially in conformity with the teachings of Islam.
On his part, the Chairman of Jaiz Bank, Alhaji Umaru AbdulMutallab said the ummah has failed woefully, collectively in organizing its affairs to assist the less privileged general especially the widows and orphans on the on-going Boko Haram insurgency.
Mutallab, who prayed that the dialogue will focus on the nature of the problem, its magnitude and a sincere consensus on a coordinated approach, involving Muslims generally, especially the leaders, non-profit organisations, non-state actors and the ummah, said the non-challance of Muslims on the crisis will obviously make Boko Haram a child’s play and feed on other existing potentially explosive issues like the face-off with the Sharia.
He added that, “Added to this frightening but real consequence of the need for a collective proactive response, is the threat of non-Muslim international and local ministries, actively seeking to take advantage by offering the orphans succor, where Muslim and our governments have failed.”
“The statistics on the IDP’s generally are the orphans and widows in particular are alarming, it is simply a serious humanitarian disaster, pregnant with other more serious consequences for the future, unless urgent steps are taken. The magnitude in demographic estimates has reached a frightening portion, with over 20, 000 people killed, mostly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and estimated 2.4 million IDP’s according to UNICEF figures. In fact, the UN High Commission for Refugees has elevated the Nigerian situation to the 3rd level, while the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) reported that the situation of IDP’s, especially Orphans and Widows in the North East is 2nd only to Syria, where there has been on-going full scale war, with daily bombardments of whole populations,” he said.
Also the President of the Supreme Council for Shari’a, Ibrahim Datti Ahmad said it is necessary for all Islamic groups to unite and establish a cohesive platform to fight the challenges facing them.
Ahmad said there is need to establish an effective standing committee, work out how to relate with the United Nation and other International Aid agencies and friendly Muslim countries to assist the effort.