Sanusi advocates family planning as solution to ‘almajiri,’ other social vices

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, on Thursday, implored Nigerians, especially Muslims, to give birth to the number of children they can cater for.

Mr Sanusi gave this advice while speaking at the opening of the 108th edition of Islamic Vacation Course (IVC), organised by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Zone B, held at IVC Permanent Camp, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Ogun State.

The Kano monarch expressed a similar view in Kano a few days earlier.

Mr Sanusi, while speaking on the array of social problems bedeviling Nigeria, insisted that the ‘almajri’ challenge in Northern Nigeria is not a religious concern, but a social issue that needs urgent attention.

The almajiri challenge involves out-of-school children who are sent, often by their parents, to Islamic clerics to live and learn Quranic knowledge but often end up begging and doing menial work on the streets. Millions of almajri children roam Northern Nigerian streets amidst efforts of local and federal authorities to solve the problem.

While maintaining that there is a need to get all out of school children back to school, Mr Sanusi said that men should imbibe the habit of marrying the number of women they can cater for.

“If we continue this way, about 40 per cent extremely poor people will be in Nigeria. Poverty in the South West is 20 per cent, in the North, it is 80 per cent, Lagos is 8 per cent and Zamfara, it is 91 per cent.

“We have been talking about almajri for over 30 years. Why are people having family that they cannot maintain? Why are people marrying wives that they cannot maintain? The condition is that you are able to provide for your family.

“Instead of having many children, why not have the ones you can cater for? These are the fundamental questions we should ask ourselves. Most of these children roaming about the streets will be adult in the next 20 years and they will be the ones recruited as political thugs by the politicians in the next twenty years, if we don’t take good care of them now.

“This is my own advice that we must look at. These are not religious issues, they are social issues that need to be addressed”.

The Sultan of Sokoto while speaking urged Muslims not to be provoked by utterances from political or religious leaders but to continue to be law-abiding.

He urged Muslims to work for the unity of the country.

He said, “We will not work to divide Nigeria. We should not take arm, don’t be provoked by any utterances. Be law-abiding wherever you are.”

AbdurRazzak Alaro, a professor of the Department of Islamic Law, University of Ilorin, who was the guest speaker, while speaking on the topic “The Unification”, maintained that unity among Muslims is not an option but an obligation to all Muslims.

“Unity as a concept is very essential in the religion of Islam. God instructed Muslims to unite and work toward unity. Muslims are expected to be united and not disunited. Unity is not a matter of option but obligation. We must be courageous enough to call a space a spade. MSSN has a role to play in unifying Nigerian Muslims.”

The head of the MSSN Zone B Amir, Qaasim Odedeji, in his welcome address, said that those who were calling for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria over his call for the amendment of the constitution to accommodate Sharia are not being sincere.

He said, “The Chief Justice of Nigeria recently called for improvement of the status of the Shari’ah through amendment of the relevant sections of the constitution. The Christian Association of Nigeria and its allied groups have been calling for the head of the CJN for bearing his mind out and saying the obvious. One of the areas that need improvement as rightly stated by the Chief Justice of Nigeria is the provision for appointment of minimum of three justices of the court of appeal that are learned in Islamic law to handle cases where issues of Islamic law is raised.”

“Another area that requires improvement in our constitution is the provision that gives the State House of Assemblies options in the creation of courts to handle cases of Islamic personal law. The consequence is the failure of state houses of assembly in the whole southern Nigeria to pass law for establishing courts that would adjudicate for adjudication on issues of Islamic personal law in accordance with the position of the religion.

“The call for resignation of the Chief Justice for making the statement is not only uncalled for, it is laughable, unreasonable unwarranted and it is a calculated attempt to intimidate the CJN. The Nigerian legal system which the Chief Justice of Nigeria presides over is not limited to Nigerian legislations, it also contains provisions of Islamic personal law,” he said.

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