Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has suffered a huge knock from the Council of Ulamas, following his decision to ban street begging in Kano State.
Ibrahim Khalil, who is the Chairman of the Council considered to be “guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge in Islam, including Islamic doctrine and law”, told newsmen on Wednesday February 26 that the Kano Government is ”not serious about the ban and are only trying to appease their masters abroad.”
Khalil stated that before street begging can be banned, the necessary steps towards curtailing the practice needs to be put in place.
“Our opinion is on three to five issues, firstly, if we view the history of banning street begging since the time of Sir Ahmadu Bello, when they were making efforts to ban street begging but were opposed by the Ulama because they saw it as a way of keeping people away from Quranic or religious studies.
“Even the government that says it has barred begging is not serious about it. It will ban it and after a while it will return. Just like the Hausa saying that ‘The king’s instruction lasts only seven days.
“The right steps have not been followed and begging cannot stop because the correct measures have not been put in place.
“The right steps to follow in banning street begging include firstly, the Quranic clerics involved have to be identified. Because there are street beggars who are Quranic students, there are beggars who are sent by their parents from the rural areas to come and be begging in the urban areas, there is also begging engaged in by some physically challenged individuals.”
The Chairman of the Council of Ulamas added that the different forms of street begging needs to be identified and each one addressed accordingly.
“Secondly, the Hizbah used to make arrests and when they arrest them they just keep them and cannot properly even feed them. More so, you cannot stop begging in the state without joining hands with the neighbouring states.
“If you don’t join hands with the neighbouring states, for example in the General Hospital in Kano, you have people from Katsina, Bauchi, Niger, Gombe, or Zaria or even Jos, you budget for just the state in the hospital but it is about five states that benefit from the hospital. You have not considered them, they have not been considered by their states, no budget has been made for them.
“If you recall there was the case of a man who just sent three of his children to the city to be begging for sustenance because he wanted to place his new wife in the room they were occupying. You can see that these kids are not Almajiris or Quranic pupils.
“Therefore, you need statistics of the real situation, know the total number of the Quranic teachers, the total number of the Quranic schools and their pupils, know exactly who the real Almajiris are first. You will then know their needs understand their problems and then proffer the right solutions. You can decide to cater for them or send them back to their homes.
“But you have not conducted all these. They have not consulted people like us that have made efforts on the issue to hear our own experiences, get our reports, those of Ndatsu in the past and those of the times of Sir Ahmadu Bello to get a better solution.
“To us at the Council of Ulama, the government cannot do it and is not serious about it. They are just doing it to appease their masters abroad, or get their money or some kind of noise making. Or they might have been accused of something from somewhere for which they simply organise a ceremony and that is all. That is our opinion”