Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, Thursday advocated for laws to be enacted by state governments to tackle injustices in marriages just as he recommended the arrest of fathers that send out their child as Almajiri to beg for alms.
He made the call at the opening of a National conference for repositioning the Muslim family for national development organised by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in conjunction with Future Assured, a pet project of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
He said the Qu’ran does not back the irresponsibility being witnessed in marriages as well as parents forcing their children into loveless marriage, he therefore charged the men to take full responsibility for their marriages, especially in economic terms, by marrying only when they can take care of a wife, and having children they can cater for.
The monarch emphasized that no law supports a man to marry, have children and then abandon his responsibility to them.
According to him, any man that is too poor to take care of his family should go out and do the begging himself rather than sending send his child to do.
Sanusi said rather than arresting the innocent boys, any parent who turned his child or ward to an almajiri should be arrested.
Emir of Kano said: “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 recalled how in 1999, 12 States in the North adopted the Shariah laws without any need, to reform the laws out side of the Muslim Criminal law.
Sanusi said: “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.”
The Emir of Kano announced that after several months of thorough works, himself and the Sultan have successfully packaged a set of laws to address some of the issues to be submitted to Governor Ibrahim Ganduje of Kano state for onward transmission to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage into law.
He asked: “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.”
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, also advocated for digital solutions that can make parents more responsible for their children.
He said: “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.”
The event, which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, Islamic clerics, traditional rulers and some Northern governors.
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on his part said the Universal Basic Education (UBE) law passed in 2004, is encompassing noting as it includes the responsibility of parents to take care of their children.
He also stressed the need for traditional rulers and religious leaders not to back governors in their anti-people programmes.
According to him, “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.”
The chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, said the governors were waiting to get the buy in of the traditional rulers and clerics.
He said the conclusion of the summit will be part of what will be discussed at a two-day summit in Kaduna to address the Almajiri problem, saying: “Then we will see what will hamper the implementation.”