From Ahmad SAKA, Bauchi
A renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi has cautioned the government and whoever wants to ban Almajiranci in Nigeria to respect their rights to practice their religion without the hindrance of any kind by allowing them to continue learning the Quran with their pupils where ever they want to reside in Nigeria as enclosed in the 1999 constitution.
Dahiru Bauchi stated this at the end of the meeting of Tsangaya school proprietors and stakeholders held at Zaranda Hotel Bauchi.
He said, “we are Nigerians, we have rights under the laws of the land to live where ever we want to live and to practice our religion. Qur’anic pupils and their teachers have these rights and henceforth we will not accept violations of our rights in the name of banning Almajiranci and the evacuation of our pupils from one place to another like stray animals, we will not accept it and we disagree with any law that will contravene our rights.”
“We must live with our pupils, we must learn the Holy Qur’an and we must teach our pupils how to learn, memorise and master the Holy Quran as inherited over 1000 years ago, we don’t want anyone to tamper with the traditional way of learning the Holy Qur’an.”
On the issue of Almajiri begging, Dahiru Bauchi said, “did Almajiri go to the houses of the northern governors to beg for food? no. The pupils beg for their foods in the communities they live and the communities are not tired with us”.
Presenting a paper on the right of Almajiri under the Nigerian law, Barrister Aminu Balarabe Isa said, “any action to ban the Almajiri system contravenes sections 18, chapter 4, 34, 38, 41, and 42, of the 1999 constitution which says that the government shall direct its policy towards ensuring equal opportunities to educational opportunities”.
Six papers were presented by different eminent scholars and university lecturers that attended the meeting, who stated that people banning the Almajiri system were not telling the truth about the Almajiri’s of which many are successful in life and asked them to debunk the campaign of calumny against the Almajiri system of education in Nigeria.
The scholars described poverty, as the main reason why there are many people begging in the country of which the government is yet to tackle. They stated that even now that the Almajiris were repatriated, beggars are still found in the streets begging. Why can’t they stop them?.
A communiqué was issued at the end of the meeting and it was agreed that the proprietors will unite themselves and speak with one voice on all matters affecting their activities, they resolved to use media campaigns, support one another to reject any laws that will stop them from practising their religion, to seek the intervention of leaders against maltreatment of Almajiri pupils in some states across the country, they will use their votes against any politician that will not support Almajiranci in Nigeria, they will ask the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Nigeria to know the effort of the government on Tsangaya education.