The North is the most blessed part of Nigeria. You may differ with me on this but this geopolitical zone of the country immensely possesses the most important resource of any nation: its population. If for nothing, look at China as a clear example. The Asian Tiger was on a similar pedestal with several countries of the world until its population surged beyond expectations. With that came the blessing of improved resources. This improvement was made possible through human capital management and development.

What China has today is what Nigeria, through the northern region, is capable of achieving if we have meticulous managers of the resources at our disposal. It is time to go beyond using our population advantage to win elections by improving the quality of lives of those who give politicians such votes through deliberate policies that would end the menace of the Almajiri system by reforming it and ensuring the less fortunate members of the society acquire quality and compulsory education.

I therefore admonish our leaders at all levels, religious and political, to help preach the gospel of quality education so as to address some of the social ills being suffered in the region and gradually shifting to other parts of the country. Nothernern governors, senators, House of Representatives members, House of Assembly members even down to the local government chairmen must take action to address the threat these ‘miseducated’ children are turning into especially those of them taking to terrorism. Our houses are burning in the north, we must address this issue before it totally gets out of hands.

We have our problems in this part of the country no doubt. Poverty, diseases, illiteracy, unemployment, child trafficking and others abound here in the north, but the mother of it all is the deceptive kind of Islamic education these young ones that are supposed to be leaders of tomorrow are exposed to. Why is it that majority of those who take to terrorism are mostly of northern region? This is because some misguided elements teach them that life is not worth living on earth and that they should hate others on the basis of differences in either religion or ideology. This is really sad. We must discourage such teachings and the leaders I earlier mentioned have a bigger stake on this matter. I therefore call on them to rise so we can bequeath a better future to the next generation.

There needs to be social rebirth through continuous education and enlightenment across all parts of the region and if possible, the educational curriculum of educators in the area of religion should be tailored towards entrenching knowledge of human dignity, value of human life and genuine patriotism to combat the menace of terrorism and inter – communal strife. The need to reshape the method of teaching the Islamic faith in the north is long overdue. Nobody is saying anything should be changed in our beautiful faith of Islam, but there is urgent for its teaching to be modernised.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the social system in the states so that the leaders mentioned can create deliberate policies that will care for the welfare of the poor; where the government, the rich in the society and the philanthropists can come together and identify the problems of these children and address them. It would go a long way in addressing the problem of street begging caused by hunger; it would go a long way in creating a better society for the north and Nigeria at large.

Some persons may want to ask the relationship between Almajiri system, hunger and terrorism; it is interwoven. Some of the children engage in terrorism because of lack of some basic amenities. Some don’t have consistent daily meal for days and suddenly see someone ready to provide them with such and then teach them some fanatical things about their ‘faith’ that may not be consistent with the letters of how it should be taught. They then take to life of crime and terrorism.

We long for a better society as a people. We long for better lives. We long for an egalitarian society where our offsprings can enjoy basic things. If that were to be possible, we need to start a generational reorientation so as to inculcate attitudes that would better the lives of the people.

Comrade Ahmed Attah,

APC Zonal Chairman, Kogi East