Why almajiri system needs reform – Ribadu

Former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu speaking at Premium Times Book launch.
Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu

The traditional Qur’anic school system in northern Nigeria needs reforms and integration to allow for those who pass through it to fit into modern society, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, has said.

Mr Ribadu, who spoke Wednesday at an event to unveil Premium Times Books, an arm of PREMIUM TIMES, described the system as a “useful one that is fast losing relevance”.

The books presented at the event were “Sect and Social Disorder” and “Creed and Grievance” edited by Abdul Raufu Mustapha, and “Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria”, written by Hannah Hoechner.

He said some of the practices and experiences the almajiri schools pupils go through border on human rights abuse.

Mr Ribadu said children from the almajiri schools easily fall victims in the event of violent conflicts, citing such conflicts in Kaduna, Zangon Kataf, among others.

“I worked on many of those crises and conflicts as a member of the investigation team and tribunal, I was in Zango Kataf, I was in Tafawa Balewa, I was in Kaduna religious crisis,” he said.

“During the Kaduna religious disturbance of 2000, we visited where they buried the victims along Birnin Gwari road, they opened the graves for us, what I saw is still haunting me. There were bodies, all of them young boys… boys over 100 buried in mass graves and no identity, not a single one of them had a name and they were all buried, I got interested in this.

“I said let me see and get it touch with those who are responsible for it. They were victims of the crisis that took place in Kaduna because of the Sharia riots. They said they did not have their identity or Mallam responsible for them? They said no. Did anyone come to complain that they have lost a child?” he said.

In his remarks, the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Mathew Kukah, called for tolerance of differences, lamenting that brushing critical issues aside was not the panacea to resolving conflicts in society.

He said northern Nigerians should work towards coming to terms with issues around ethno-religious differences between them, which will help in ending violent conflicts.

The bishop also attributed the recurring conflicts to inability of persons in authority to resolve the burning issues for lasting peace.

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