The Emir of Kano Mr Muhammadu Sanusi II Thursday called on government at all levels to jail fathers of almajiri roaming the streets for alms.
Speaking at a conference on Repositioning Muslim Family for National Development organised by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) in conjunction with Future Assured, the emir said punishment should be meted to the parents and not the children.
“Do you just marry and have children without any responsibilities? The reason Allah send His Prophets is that there should be justice in this world. Justice in our relationship with our maker and in our relationship with our fellow human beings.
“Justice means that everyone is given his rights. If a man takes the privilege of being the head of the family, he takes the responsibilities of being the provider of the family. You cannot take that privilege and a band the responsibilities.
“Is it a fact that a father has the right to force his daughter into a loveless marriage? that you have the rights to batter you wife? you have the right to have children and push them to the streets to beg? that when you divorce your wife, you ask her and her children to pack and go back to her father’s house and that is the end?
“I can spend 100 years saying that it is wrong and un-Islamic for a man to beat his wife, but it is the Governor and the State House of Assembly that should pass the law, it is the Courts and the Police that will make sure that the woman gets justice. The Scholars and Emirs cannot do that.
“It is only the Governors who can pass the laws to say that when a man divorces his wife, it is his responsibilities to provide for the children, it is the Courts and Security system that will enforce.
“So, the problem is these groups of human beings are those who will stand to answer to Allah if there is no justice. The traditional and religious leaders have an obligation to ask for justice, but those with the political powers have an obligation to put in place the processes that will make sure that these justices are complied with,” he said.
The emir also called for enactment of laws by state governments to tackle injustices in marriages.
He said the Holy Qur’an does not support the irresponsibility being witnessed in marriages and attitude of parents forcing their children into loveless marriage.
“Everyday wives are complaining about their husbands who claim their rights but abandon their responsibilities of marriage, women being divorced with their husbands not taking care of the children and those children ending up on the streets, drugs, political thuggery, violent extremism,” he said.
He recalled how in 1999, 12 States in the North adopted the Shariah laws without any need, to reform the laws outside of the Muslim Criminal law.
“No law that talks about consent in marriage, the rights of wives and husbands, domestic violence, rights of women divorced, the responsibilities of husbands under divorce situations, if a child is found on the streets, is the father that is responsible and can the state hold him accountable? These are Shariah and they are all more important than cutting off the hand of a thief,” he said.
The emir said he and the Sultan of Sokoto have packaged a set of laws to address some challenges of family system in the country, and would be submitted to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state for onward transmission to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage into law.
Also speaking, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, advocated for digital solutions that can make parents more responsible for their children.
“There is a problem in our country and we should face it. Enough of us talking and talking, we should all join hands to walk the talk.
“The problem of almajiri is not just a problem of a particular section of this country, it is a problem of each and everyone of us.
“Like the Emir of Kano said, we shouldn’t blame them, we should blame those that brought them to this world. It is very important we look at other ways and means of how to better the lot of their lives.
“We need to promulgate laws that will force fathers to be very responsible for their children. We can even link it to BVN. Today, everything is digitalised, we have to link children to those irresponsible fathers, producing children that are becoming menace to the society.
“It is time they take responsibility for their actions, if you cannot confiscate their assets, confiscate their bank accounts, make life miserable for them, make life unpalatable for them so that they will be very serious about take issue of birth control seriously,” he said.
Speaking at the event which was held at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President of the Senate Mr Ahmed Lawan said the Universal Basic Education (UBE) law passed in 2004 encompasses the responsibility of parents to take care of their children.
He said there was the need for traditional rulers and religious leaders not to back governors in their anti-people programmes.
“Our governors can introduce anything but I can bet with my life that the success of whatever they will introduce will be severely limited if the religious and traditional rulers do not support them all the way,” he said.
Also speaking, chairman of Northern Governors Forum and governor of Plateau state Mr Simon Bako Lalong said governors were waiting to get the buy-in of the traditional rulers and clerics on the almajiri issue.
He said decisions arrived at by participants at the conference would be part of what would be discussed at a two-day summit for governors in Kaduna to address the almajiri problem.