Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III
By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) has advocated for the introduction of penal laws that would punish parents in northern Nigeria, who refused to send their wards to school.
The Sultan was speaking during the project launch of the Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI-P) by Sokoto state government in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which held at the Presidential Lodge in Sokoto on Tuesday.
According to him, “There should be laws to punish any parent who fails to send his children to school so that anyone who refuses to send his ward would be penalised,” he emphasised.
He commended Sokoto state government for introducing compulsory education. “We are much pleased when we see our leaders given priority to education,” adding that government’s declaration of state of emergency in education was a welcome idea “because it is our responsibility to ensure that our children go to school at all cost.”
The Sultan assured of the Sultanate’s preparedness to partner with government and other organisation in the provision of quality education for the children.
He stressed that aside from Qur’anic education, northerners should also learn western education, which according to him, “is equally important.”
Sultan Sa’ad queried that although he pioneered the introduction of Almajiri integrated system, he worries that the tempo had gone down.
“We advocated for the introduction of the Almajiri integrated system and donated my personal property for the construction of the school, which former president Jonathan commissioned. We however notice that the tempo has gone down. One does not know what is happening there now,” he lamented.
The Monarch also disclosed that he was spearheading the establishment of a medical university for female students. “All paperwork has been concluded. We are collaborating with various national and international organisations and individuals, including Bill Gates. It may take long but we are determined to do it,” he said.
Also speaking, the USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Michael Harvey said that through substantial increase of funding for education, the Agency was there to re-calibrate education in the two states.
Emphasising the importance of school feeding, the Mission Director observed that “families will easily allow their children to go to school in the global initiative that is supported by the US in a seamless partnership with state governments.”
Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal who was represented by his deputy, Ahmed Aliyu assured that every child in the state would receive quality education. “To achieve this, we have declared state of emergency on and appropriated 27 percent of the state’s budget to education.”
Funded by USAID, the five-year NEI-P program is aimed at strengthening the ability of Bauchi and Sokoto states to provide access to quality education, especially for girls, orphans and children enrolled in non traditional schools and improve children’s reading skills for more than two million school-aged children and youth.
Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe