By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Chairman Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi Foundation, Alhaji Ibrahim Sheikh Dahiru has said categorically clear that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government should rethink over its plan to ban the almajiri system of education in the country.
Alhaji Ibrahim Dahiru at a press conference in Bauchi while reacting to the statement credited to the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungono published in national dailies, which said “the FGN is considering proscribing the Almajiri system to address the rising insecurity in the country”.
Dahiru said, “The Almajiri system of education has been in the country for more than 1,000 years and it has never ever become threat to security, the pupils learn through recitation and memorizing of the Holy Qur’an, they are not criminals, they are the ones praying for peace and stability in the country”.
He explained, “None of all the criminals arrested by security agencies was almajiri, no Almajiri among armed robbers , kidnappers, or insurgents or any other group of criminals, how can they become threats to insecurity”.
“We have been seeing police interviewing suspects they have arrested, when they asked them are you Qur’anic students or did you studied in islamic schools, they answered in affirmative capital NO, how can they be accused with threat to security using the name of Almajiri?
“I think it’s time government and security agencies should separate Almajiri system with criminals or any insecurity, they are not criminals but Qur’anic reciters and memorizers”.
The foundation chairman said, “I remember in the early 70’when Sheikh sent us to Maiduguri for Qur’anic memorization, after we finished we came back home, presently Sheikh established over 200 schools in different parts of the country where students are memorizing the Holy Qur’an without begging and such schools graduate students, many have first degrees, many have masters some are PHD holders including many professors, all of them are products of Almajiri Schools”
He recalled, “Recently we held a meeting on the improvement of Tsangaya education, organized by Universal Basic Education Board where they invited all stake holders in education including UNICEF. Islamic development Bank, when I explained to them the situation in our schools UNICEF said you are the best stake holders that will be entrusted with overseeing the system directly since then nothing was done”.
“We even apply for consultancy to oversee the running of the Tsangaya schools built by the Federal Government but they refused to allow us, we gave them so many suggestions on the way to improve the system but all our suggestions fell on deaf ears”.
He said, “I can recall recently before the 2019 general election, we met with President Muhammadu Buhari ,Maulana Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, Jigawa State Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and myself at a meeting, we held a fruitful discussions with President Buhari on the issue of Almajiri system of education where Maulana Sheikh also gave useful advices that will improve the system”.
“During the meeting, Maulana advised the Federal Government to establish agency for Almajiri education, and to allow people that have direct link with Tsangaya Schools to head the commission which will easily help in translating the messages required down and direct to the stake holders in the administrations of the schools for the successful implementation of Almajiri Schools in the country”.
According to him, the Sheikh advised government to help genuine stakeholders of Almajiri education with soft loan on agriculture to enable them produce the food they will eat with their pupils.
Ibrahim said, “The President was very happy with the suggestion, Jigawa State Governor said Jigawa will be the first state to start the programme, the President was smiling, he even asked is it not selfish for you to say you want to be number one to start the programme?
“The President then asked myself , minister of education Mallam Adamu Adamu and Jigawa state governor to work out the modalities for the implementation of the programme, since then nothing was done, they even stop taking our phone calls over the issue up to the time when they started electioneering campaign for 2019 general election”.
He said “if Federal government will be sincere and fair to Almajiri and allow real Tsangaya owners to facilitate the integration of Tsangaya and Islamic education in to the modern educational system of Nigeria, it will go a long way in the eradication of proliferation of Almajiri system of street begging”.
The scholar who stressed the importance of memorizing the Holy Qur’an urged Muslims and all stakeholders to join hands together in order to promote Qur’anic and Islamic education for the wellbeing of the society and development of the country.
Ibrahim said “in a bid to address the problem of begging among the Tsangaya pupils, the government must adhere strictly to the advises given to it, they should sit with the stakeholders in Tsangaya education, to chart away forward”
He however said in the interim, government should start a multidimensional strategy among which is the establishment of modern Islamic colleges with facilities to train them in both Western and Islamic education as well as in skills acquisition.
“Government should provide succor to the teachers and pupils through provision of feeding, clothing, like they are doing it to the their western education pupils and their teachers since they are all citizens of Nigeria, government should assist them with generator sets, motorcycles, cars and every welfare to ease their way of learning”.
He also advised all stakeholders to continue to pray for peace and stability in the country, stressing “there is no way you can compare insecurity with Almajiri system of education, it’s not fair, and it’s not true”.
“We are praying for the successful implementation of government laudable programmes for the wellbeing of the country, we are always praying for the President to succeed in piloting the affairs of the country”, he concluded.