BY HOSEA YUSUF, Abuja
It was praises galore yesterday at the iconic Arewa House, Kaduna, as President Muhammadu Buhari, former military president Ibrahim Babangida and immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan and others were accorded the highest recognition of the apex organisation for Qur’anic Reciters in Nigeria for the various examples they have shown in religious tolerance, as well as for establishing and maintaining Tsangaya schools, aimed at reducing the menace of Almajiri and begging in the country.
The event, a national conference where the ills of street begging and almajiranci were x-rayed by leading ulama, was chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, who stressed that the practice where parents take their young children to Islamic teachers, purportedly to learn the recitation of the Qur’an without making any provision for their upkeep, is alien to Islam, and urged for closer collaboration between parents and the teachers on one part, as well as government and civil society organisations on the other, with a view to making for a decent learning culture for the young children.
On his part, the executive secretary of the Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Hamid Bobboye, lamented that the learning environment for the usually abandoned youngsters is in most cases akin to slavery, recalling that in the days of old, society makes full provision for the Qur’anic teachers, which enabled them take full care of the children placed under their care.
Shedding further light on the ills of street begging, former minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, explained that the immediate past administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan established 64 Tsangaya schools to help cleanse the Islamic learning culture and make for a more decent system where both teachers and their pupils operate in a conducive, secured environment.
Highlights of the event were presentation of highest awards of the Centre for Qur’anic Reciters of Nigeria to President Buhari, former presidents General Ibrahim Babangida and Dr Goodluck Jonathan, as well as the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and two other emirs.
Also honoured were Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, as well as former ministers of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and Professor Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufa’i, all for the various roles they played in setting up of 64 Tsangaya schools in some northern states.