Stopping Babangida’s education policy bred Fulani herdsmen malaise – Northern Prof
A university don and APC chieftain, Prof. Sahabi Danladi Mahuta, says the abandonment of the nomadic education policy introduced by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime bred the Fulani herdsmen malaise.
Prof Mahuta, who is the Chairman of the Kebbi Development Forum (KDF), disclosed that the “stoppage” of the policy after Babangida’s regime cut off the nomadic Fulani from “civilisation”.
He adopted a reintroduction of the policy to address the Fulani herdsmen menace.
The renowned Islamic scholar spoke in Abuja recently after a meeting of Islamic scholars in Abuja.
Also, Prof Mahuta faulted the condemnation of the Almajiri system, calling instead for its reform.
According to him, the Almajiri system and Fulani herdsmen situation were linked.
“First, the government should recognise the existence of Almajiri as a system of education in the North, by at least establishing a data base of all the Almajiri schools in the country.
“You see, those who drop their wards in Almajiri schools see their action as a religious obligation because seeking of knowledge is a religious duty.
“We all know the Almajiri system of education is defective because they just memorise without knowing the meaning.
“To know the meaning, you have to come back for further education, but this educational system can be made effective by the introduction of English Language writing, Mathematics and entrepreneurship skills that would make them useful to the society.
“Thereafter, any other interventions can follow. Both systems worked fine in other countries, so it can work if well integrated in Nigeria but it is dangerous to ignore the Almajiri problem.
“Slightly linked is the problem of herders, cattle rustlers, bandits and kidnappers in the north.
“General Babangida started the nomadic education policy but was stopped after he left office.
“That stoppage practically put the Fulani herdsmen out of touch with government, civilisation and out of the reach of even Islamic scholars.
“They were let loose. They felt abandoned. This is someone who is ignorant of education, government, abandoned in the bush, following cattle anywhere.
“To them, every human being is wicked and an oppressor. Government must rise up and find a solution to this big social problem of Almajiri and the Fulani herders.”
Prof Mahuta noted that the age-long suspicion of western education in the north resulted in low literacy rate which when coupled with youth unemployment caused insecurity in the region.
He said, “Basically two reasons are responsible for these (security) problems: low literacy rate and youths unemployment.
“The Fulani problem in the north is historic and there’s the need for proper understanding before a solution can be proffered.
“The way the western missionaries were accepted in the south, they were treated with rejection and suspicion in the north.
“BOKO means literarily western education, but if a Hausa man says you want to use Boko for me, he’s no longer talking about western education, but ‘’deceit’’ which is the pejorative meaning of book.
“So, from the beginning, there has been suspicion about western education from the north and that tells you why the literacy level is low, because the offer of western education by the west was viewed with suspicion.”