The Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi, and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, said yesterday that parents of Almajiri children should be arrested and not their children, for constituting a nuisance to the society. Sanusi also called for enactment of laws by state governments to tackle injustices in marriages.
Sanusi spoke as the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, said government and the courts would answer to Allah for refusing to grant justice.
This is even as the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, said her husband’s government was scared to leave office without meeting the expectations of Nigerians.
They all spoke at the Joint National Conference of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, and Future Assured Initiative on Repositioning the Muslim Family for National Development, at the Banquet Hall of State House, Abuja.
Future Assured Initiative is a pet project of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
In his remarks, Sanusi said everyday wives were complaining about their husbands who claimed their rights but abandon their responsibilities of marriage. He also said that women complained being divorced, with their husbands not taking care of the children and those children ending up on the streets, doing drugs, political thuggery and violent extremism.
He said: ‘’There was no law that talks about consent in marriage, the rights of wives and husbands, domestic violence, rights of women divorced, the responsibilities of husbands under divorce situations. If a child is found on the streets, it’s the father that is responsible and can the state hold him accountable? These are Shariah and they are all more important than cutting off the hand of a thief.”
Asking rhetorically whe-ther men could marry and have children without any responsibilities, the Emir said: “The reason Allah send His Prophets is that there should be justice in this world. Justice in our relationship with our maker and in our relationship with our fellow human beings.
“Justice means that everyone is given his rights. If a man takes the privilege of being the head of the family, he takes the responsibilities of being the provider of the family. You cannot take that privilege and abandon the responsibilities.
“Is it a fact that a father has the right to force his daughter into a loveless marriage? That you have the rights to batter your wife? You have the right to have children and push them to the streets to beg? That when you divorce your wife, you ask her and her children to pack and go back to her father’s house and that is the end?
“I can spend 100 years saying that it is wrong and un-Islamic for a man to beat his wife, but it is the governor and the State House of Assembly that should pass the law, it is the Courts and the Police that will make sure that the woman gets justice. The Scholars and Emirs cannot do that.
“It is only the governors who can pass the laws to say that when a man divorces his wife, it is his responsibilities to provide for the children, it is the courts and security system that will enforce. “ So, the problem is these groups of human beings are those who will stand to answer to Allah if there is no justice.
‘’Traditional and religious leaders have an obligation to ask for justice, but those with the political powers have an obligation to put in place the processes that will make sure that these justices are complied with.”
Concurring with Emir Sanusi, the Ooni of Ife, Enitan-Ogunwusi, said: “It is not only about roads, we have to give (Almajiri) that exposure, that orientation and let them know that they have a very solid impact to make in nation building.
“It is very important for us not to just pray to God alone. If you pray to God and do nothing to back it up, it is tantamount to destroying a particular country. Its about what value you are providing. It is very important for all these people you are calling social menace for the country.
On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, said: “ Nigeria of over 200 million people, there is no way we can divide ourselves. The conference was designed to bring every one together.
“We are not short of recommendations and resolutions, what we lack is implementation. Give marching orders to the governors to implement resolutions reached, you have the big stick as the Commander-in-Chief, chiefly command well . No body will come and solve this problem for us. No matter how big a person is, he is not bigger than Nigeria. Drugs, broken marriages, why is there so much divorce among Nigerians. Let’s see how we can implement some of these programs. We are always with you and will continue to support you.’’
On the role of fathers, he said: “We do know what the problems are, husbands not taking their responsibilities, and children ending on the streets .The problems are there are irresponsible fathers.
“12 states of the north declared that they have adopted the Sharia. No laws on consent in marriage, responsibilities of husbands in a divorce situation.
“Where did you get it that you are allowed to have children and abandon them to beg? You are allowed to marry wife number one, number two, number three and leave them hungry, who gave you that right? The verse that say you can marry four wives at the end says “ the Prophet ask us to pray against severity of trials. “What is meat by severity of trials is to have a very large family and little money.
If you are too poor to feed your children, then go out and beg, and not send your children to do the begging.
“We are hoping that we stop treating Almajiri as criminals. When you see one on the street, ask him or her where is your father? so, go and arrest the father, not the boy, because the father is responsible for the problem, not the child.”
In her remarks, the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, said the present administration was scared to leave office without meeting the expectations of Nigerians.
While expressing fears that failure to meet their expectations of Nigerians will not augur well for the country, Dr. Aisha Buhari said: “We are scared to leave here to meet them without meeting up with some of their (Almajiri) expectations. Though we are not going to meet up with all their expectations, but at least we’d do our best to see that we’ve done the basic one’s. That is, keeping the Almajiries off the streets.
“I’m happy the Ooni of Ife remembered the hope that they had seen in the eyes of our supporters.”
In his speech, President Muhammadu Buhari advised Christian and Muslim leaders, and preachers generally to give more attention to issues that strengthen the family and build society, describing them as “custodians of our values and of social ideals”.
He said: “In this endeavour, our religious leaders and organizations are most important catalyst. They are the custodians of our values and of our social ideals. It is, therefore, commendable that the Nigerian Supreme Council, in collaboration with the Future Assured Initiative, has risen to this challenge.
“I, however, wish to call on all our religious leaders and organizations, both Christian and Muslim, to follow suit by redirecting important elements of their preaching and teachings on family issues, with a view to broadening the sensitization of people at the grassroots level.’’
The President said the government would also put more effort in ensuring economic support, and empowering of family members for more stability.
“We have been conscious of the havoc poverty is wreaking on the family. We, therefore, believe that poverty alleviation is central to safeguarding the integrity of our families,’’ the President added.
According to the President, many homes have benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer, while trader-moni and market-moni schemes have also been impactful.
“The school feeding programme has assisted immensely in supporting poor Nigerian families in getting their children enrolled and sustained in school,” he said.
President Buhari commended the Sultan and Future Assured Initiative for the projects on marriage and family.
The Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, said the Universal Basic Education should be fully implemented to compel parents to send their children to school, assuring that the National Assembly would work with the Executive to ensure compliance.