Emir Sanusi wants Arabic studies mainstreamed in Nigeria’s education system

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has called for Nigeria’s educational system to allow for the inclusion of Arabic education into the mainstream.

The emir said this on Monday while delivering the Thomas Hodgin Memorial Lecture at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The lecture, titled ‘Tradition, Modernization and Reform – The Institution of Emir as Change Agent’, focused on the reform agenda the monarch is pursuing in Kano, which he hopes will see the codification of family law, reforms in education and the use of Zakkah, the mandatory alms giving in Islam, to set up foundations to systemically deal with some of the problems that bedevil Northern Nigeria.

On education in particular, the emir said it didn’t make sense and was indeed counterproductive that millions of children and adults who can already read and write Arabic are classified as illiterate.

The refusal to recognise and value this learning, he said, is a costly by-product of British colonialism, which only recognised English-language literacy.

According to him, it feeds the structure of power and inequality that currently exists and leads to resentment because these millions, who in many nearby countries would be counted as literate, feel marginalised. The practical outcome of this is of course not only a population of millions that is limited from being useful and productive, but one which is susceptible to manipulation by extremists, he said.

He therefore called on reform of the system that would allow some sort of certification for this learning which then allows those with this education to join mainstream schools to learn. The other option he said would be to employ teachers who could teach various disciplines in Arabic and make them part of the mainstream.

When asked during the question and answer session why he was not making a case for learning in indigenous languages like Hausa, he said in an ideal situation, that would be his preference; but insisted provisions have to be made for the millions that are already literate in Arabic. Ignoring these people, he said, has serious social consequences some of which are already evident.

On family law, the emir cited the recent existence of child marriage in countries such as the U.S. to underline the need for broad social acceptance of change, which he is pursuing by fostering a process of debate between Islamic scholars, lawyers, NGOs and wider society.

Pointing to overcoming resistance to polio eradication as an example, he said that engaging communities directly and winning trust brings results. In the past, he suggested, loud campaigning and stigmatising of traditional values had proved counterproductive and held back progress.

Prominent personalities that attended the lecture included Professor Murray Last, the first person to obtain a PHD from a Nigerian University; a former head of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega; and the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmud.

Thomas Hodgin was an Oxford trained historian who engaged deeply with Nigeria and is believed to have done more than anyone to establish the serious study of African history in the United Kingdom. He was married to Nobel prize-winning chemist, Dorothy Hodgkin.


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  • Victoria

    This emir Sanusi is a moron.All people in Sudan, Yemen,Syria and Somalia etc speaks Arabic and they are the worst countries and people in the world. This shows clearly that Sanusi is pursuing to Islamize Nigeria. But he will fail. Arabic is a Language of terrorist.

    • Yakubu Dwang

      I agree with you. While he went to proper school, he is proposing Arabic studies for his Northern peoples instead of encouraging them to study economics, food studies, Rice Production, Chicken studies, Cassava production, Vegetable cultivation, Beans & Groundnut farming etc. The studies of these courses will help Nigeria get out of recession and not some Arabic studies involving drawing of useless alphabets. Will that solve the problem of hunger? Sanusi should see a pshyco Doctor before it is too late.

  • David Adeniran

    So in the same way all Nigerians who can only speak, read and write in their native language like Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo are not illiterates?

  • George

    The DEVIL is fully out and I hope he went to see his half dead brother alas Bingo the Duara presido.

    • Room 23

      “…I had such a wonderful weekend,” Mrs. Yaro confessed to the governor while aboard her Abuja-bound flight. “You have revived in me what I thought I lost long ago. I thought I lost the passion to love again,” she claimed.
      “Alhamdulillahi. Love you,” Mr. Sanusi responded in a measured tone —– Premium Times, June 2, 2013

      ….and he became an Emir=King= of his people…possible only in warped Nigeria

  • Room 23

    ACT 1, SCENE 1
    So, in the evening of Wednesday February 27, Mrs. Yaro flew to Lagos ahead of Mr. Sanusi, skipping work, at taxpayers’ expense, on Thursday February 28 and Friday, March 1… To keep faith with Mrs. Yaro’s date, the CBN governor arrived Lagos, travelling on a chartered flight, on the night of February 28, and checked into the Federal Palace Hotel, passage and boarding all at taxpayers’ expense.

    ACT 1, SCENE 2
    Mrs. Yaro arrived Lagos on the night of March 15, and immediately checked into the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel on Victoria Island. Mr. Sanusi flew from Kano to Lagos via chartered jet on the bills of the Nigerian taxpayers. He arrived at about 11 p.m., stopped by his Ikoyi home, before dashing to the hotel where Mrs. Yaro was waiting in a seductive dress in Room 23. The lovers spent that night and the next day together in the hotel…Both Mr. Sanusi and Mrs. Yaro rendezvoused in the hotel till Sunday when both of them returned to Abuja, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.


    Maybe we should add Hotel studies too!…and the studies in ‘za oza room’. Yeye Fowls!

  • Factsay

    Also Latin and Hebrew

  • Sanmi Falae

    What are the economic, scientific, and technological benefits for the millions of Nigerians the Emir claims have literacy in Arabic? We already know the ADVERSE political, social, cultural, and educational consequences of Arabic language, culture, and religion on Nigeria and Africa in the Boko Haram, El shabab, Al Qaeda, and such like terrorist groups. It is sad that rather than Emir Sanusi advocating the strengthening of African Studies in Nigerian and African schools as necessary to solution of Africa’s problems, he is ignorantly advocating the study of Saudi Arabia in our schools and universities. There is very little hope for Northern Nigeria with leaders like Emir Sanusi.

    • AryLoyds

      What is the use of a language that can actually solve a problem?
      Arabic in full Arab counties, ok thats fine , but arabic in a multi ethnic country , then thats irrelevant !

  • thusspokez

    Effing Sanusi should go anf “F” himself!

  • Yakubu Dwang

    While he went to proper school, he is proposing Arabic studies for his Northern peoples instead of encouraging them to study economics, food studies, Rice Production, Chicken studies, Cassava production, Vegetable cultivation, Beans & Groundnut farming etc. The studies of these courses will help Nigeria get out of recession and not some Arabic studies involving drawing of useless alphabets. Will that solve the problem of hunger? Sanusi should see a pshyco Doctor before it is too late.

  • Domingos

    Sanusi’s recommendation has no other name. It is called mumudity.

  • D a n g o t e-C e m e n t


  • ukoette ibekwe

    The West always looking for ways to aid the Islamization of Nigeria. First it was a university in the US that invited the terrorist from Sokoto to speak on why he does not believe in Nigeria, not a UK university invited the terrorist from Kano to speak on teaching Arabic in Nigeria. Is Arabia a Nigerian language?
    The South West that is continuously supporting these terrorists should beware of the viruses they aiding to spread in Nigeria, a country that even the terrorist sultan does not believe in.

    • Rommel

      But French is taught in Nigerian schools,is French a Nigerian language?

      • Epsilon_Delta

        Do native French men blow up innocent people along with themselves?

      • thusspokez

        French is useful, Nigeria’s West African neighbours speak French and there are many Nigerians living in those countries and doing business But why is Nigeria always importing other people’s ideas and cultures. BTW, what is there in the Arab culture to import?

  • Rommel

    I don’t have anything against this call as long as it is not compulsory because French,German,Latin even Chinese are all being taught in schools across Nigeria today so adding Arabic should not be an issue

    • emmanuel

      Better deal, that way some schools can be located under trees.
      Simply ask for a country of your own and do whatever you like there. You want to use money from the South to finance illiteracy?
      Sanusi did Arabic studies in Sudan, came back and packaged failed loan for Seawolf at FBN moved up to CBN and quarantine failed Nigerian loans at AMCON by issuing dud bonds which South Oil will pay.
      The next lawdable achievement you now seek is how to intoduce studying under trees when the World has gone far into e-tech.
      I beg make una remain illiterate. See, Dasuki see money he just dey share am any how. Buhari see power, he just lock up for Aso Villa, Sanusi brother took Ese Oruru, he just lock am up for im palace. What a wasted lot seeking for relevance to be funded by OPM!

  • FuzzyLogic

    This is nonsense. Don’t bring this madness to the SE/SS. Those who need to learn Arabic are already doing so. I have no objection to that. But to foist the learning of Arabic to the rest of the country is an invitation to trouble. Arabic and Islam go hand in hand. SE/SS want none of that. Go and read Ojukwu’s Ahiara declaration and what he said about this. He was prophetic about it.

  • FuzzyLogic

    The British are working overtime to cement Hausa/Fulani choke hold on Nigeria. They know they can rob Nigeria blind as long as Hausa/Fulani is in charge.

  • Gary

    The only thing Sanusi and his people want to share with the rest of us oil money; which they control when they call the shots in Abuja in the unitary system that favors them.

    Other than that, they want to be governed by Sharia Law, speak and learn in Arabic, marry underage girls and forcefully convert Christians, Shiites and other “infidels” to Sunni Islam.
    They just need to work with the Yoruba Moslems to adopt their worldview and the circle will be complete. They already have a powerful ally in Alhaji Bola Tinubu.

  • emmanuel

    Sanusi, no one fights God and Jesus Christ and come out unscathed. Please ask Buhari and El-Rufai. Y ou better locate the Hospital you will use when the trouble begins.
    I hear Etisalat has been or is to be taken over by AMCON.
    When after May 2015 they thought Nigeria was a fiefdom for them and sidetracked Osibanjo, little did they know that the house will crumble on them. So in readiness for an economy they would run with arabic qualifications, Etisalat took bogus loan and Baba do-nothing simply pull down the house.
    Gradually, our small businesses began to fail one after the other, then Aero, Arik and now Etisalat. The list is growing.
    Let me ask Sanusi and Jega, what next?

  • emmanuel

    Biko let us see full video of the lecture.
    The scene look like a Professors office arranged for this lecture and you can trust Sanusi, pay one hungry Lecturer some huge Pouns Steling to gain popularity.
    Please we want full video. Check tell tales around the photo

  • Hussein Suleiman

    What a good proposal. May Allah bless our Emir.