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Shara: Kano community where nobody has primary school certificate

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By Nazifi Dawud

Three years ago, officials of the Kano state government as well as representatives of a non-governmental organization gathered on a small parcel of land beneath a giant tree in Shara–a remote farming village tucked deeply into Sumaila local government area of Kano state.

The aim of the meeting was to build a classroom block for the over 500 school-age children who were forced to stay at home or engage in hawking due to absence of a school in the village.

It was in a bid to address this concern that then Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, who doubled as the state Commissioner for Education, sent representatives to the village to assure residents that a school would be provided for their children.

Kano Focus reports that the nearest school to Shara community was located more than seven kilometers in neighbouring Matigwai village, which is separated by a ditch that often becomes over-flooded during rainy season. Currently, classes no longer hold at the community school because of the rain season.

Residents told our correspondent that when dry season sets in, children as young as five had to trek the seven kilometer distance to access the school. They added that the footpath that leads to Matigwai village is also full of thorny bushes that put the children at risk of snake bites and other harms.

It was gathered that for decades, none of the residents in Shara village was able to acquire a primary school leaving certificate due to lack of a school in the community.

At the gathering in Shara, which took place precisely in March 2016, government officials at both state and local levels made promises to erect a fully equipped classroom block on a larger piece of land donated by the community members for a school.

Idris Aliyu Rimi, the Education Secretary of the Local Education Authority (LEA) in Sumaila local government council, had told Daily Trust then that the government had not forgotten about the Shara school project.

“You should tell the community members that we are aware of their plight. But as you know, education is a costly venture. There are no projects going on anywhere because there are no funds. So, let them allow their children to continue attending the community school since a teacher has been dispatched,” he had said.

Also, Umar S. Muhammad Kibiya, the Permanent Member 1 of SUBEB, then had also told the newspaper that Shara village would get a classroom block by 2017 as the project was already included in the 2017 budget.

“The village lacks a school because of a river or valley that prevents children from attending schools (elsewhere) especially during the rainy season.

“I reported the issue to the executive chairman and he directed the Director of Physical Planning and the Director, Planning and Statistics to include Shara village in our action plan for 2017 to build a classroom to accommodate the children. By 2017, Shara would enjoy a classroom by God’s grace,” he had said.

However, despite all these promises, Kano Focus reports that three years later, Shara community is still operating a makeshift school under a tree without instructional materials.

“All the promises that were made to us by the government officials have vanished into thin air. Our children are losing interest in education because they have been deceived over and over again by our leaders. We want our children to be educated but the government has abandoned us,” Dayyabu Musa, a resident told journalists.

Malam Dayyabu Musa, a resident of Shara village

Another resident, Rabilu Musa, said even the teacher that was dispatched to the makeshift school became bored and stopped coming.

“Our children are now staying at home. They can’t go to the school in Matigwai because they cannot cross the ditch which is flooded by rain water. It is too dangerous to cross even for an adult,” he said.

Even though they were literally abandoned by government, members of Shara community have gotten assistance from the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), in order to maintain the makeshift community school.

On September 9, 2019, CITAD donated instructional materials including books, sets of uniforms and a board to the Shara school to encourage the children to continue with classes.

In his remarks, Sagir Ado, a representative of CITAD, lamented how the care-free attitude of government officials towards education is causing backwardness in Kano state.

“For three years, nobody brought a single building block in the name of constructing a classroom after series of promises. We have sent letters to lawmakers at both the state and national assembly on the need to build a school in Shara. But all our efforts have ended in vain,” he said.

“If we continue like this, the residents in this village would lose interest in education. This is why we are supporting them to sustain this makeshift school in spite of the challenges.

However, Mukhtar Uba Sumaila, a representative of the Local Education Secretary, Idris Aliyu Rimi, begged the community to be patient, promising that a teacher would be dispatched to the community school while efforts would be made to provide a classroom structure in the village.

“There is a 17-member committee called the SBMC being formed at every school. I’ll guide you on how to set up this committee so that the school can access benefits. I was informed that you have donated a plot of land for a proper school.

“Through the SBCM committee, you can have audience with the chairman of Sumaila local government area Ismaila Hamisu Rimi to discuss how a classroom block can be erected. In addition to this, your children can also benefit from the ongoing free feeding program” he said.

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Ganduje vows to punish kidnappers of 9 Kano kids, to raise ‘powerful’ probe panel

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By Nazifi Dawud

Kano state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has vowed to punish kidnappers of nine Kano children, who were arrested by the Kano police command and ensure that justice is done for the victims.

Kano Focus reports that the Kano Police Command had rescued nine missing children and paraded six Igbo persons who have confessed to abducting children and selling them in Onitsha, Anambra state.

The state government’s response came just as parents of other missing children demanded the release of 47 more kids suspected to have been abducted by a criminal syndicate who specialize in seizing young Muslim children, renaming, converting them to Christianity and selling them into slavery in Southern parts of the country.

In a statement on Tuesday by Abba Anwar, the governor’s chief press secretary, Ganduje assured that justice would be done for the nine children as “all legal instruments would be used to address the situation squarely”.

He said “the arrested kidnappers, who allegedly participated in the heinous act, along with their accomplices would be prosecuted, so that they face all legal consequences.”

The governor promised that in addition to getting justice for the nine rescued children, his government would also collaborate with security agencies to “unearth similar cases”.

“Kidnapping is seriously abhorred and condemnable. What is more worrisome is the age of the victims, kids for that matter. My administration, Kano people and any right thinking individual or groups of individuals, condemn this from all standpoints.

“Government will invite the parents of those rescued from the alleged kidnappers for further discussion and relationship. While at the same we are seriously working with the security agencies to unearth similar cases. No stone will be un-turned,” he vowed.

Mr Ganduje revealed that “a powerful committee is in the pipeline to see to the root cause of this and find lasting solution to it and similar criminal activities.”

“We are coming up with a powerful committee that will critically look at this disturbing scenario, with the view to seeing to the root cause and avert re-occurance. This and similar crimes must be stopped,” he warned.

The governor also commends all the security agencies for the role they played in rescuing the kids, while calling on the members of the public to continue cooperating with the security agencies, so as to have safer and more peaceful Kano.

“People should continue with their prayers, so that we can get more protection from Allah. Parents should always be extra vigilant on the movement of their children. We all know that it is Allah Who Protects all, but we as human beings, we must stand up and be very cautious and then we pray,” he added.

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Conversion to Christianity: Kano parents demand release of 47 more abducted children

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By Nazifi Dawud

Parents of missing children in Kano state are demanding the release of 47 more children suspected to be abducted by a criminal Igbo syndicate who specialize in seizing young Muslim children, renaming, converting them to Christianity and selling them into slavery in the Southern part of the country.

Kano Focus reports that the Kano Police Command had rescued nine missing children and paraded six Igbo persons who have confessed to abducting children and selling them in Onitsha, Anambra state.

However, parents of other missing children in the state, who formed a group–Protection Against the Abduction of Our Missing Children, requested the government and the police to intensify efforts to ensure that the 47 identified missing children are also rescued.

Secretary of the group, Malam Shuaibu Ibahim, who spoke Monday on behalf of other members said they are going through extreme trauma due to the abduction of their children by the criminal syndicates.

Mr Ibrahim said since the police have already arrested suspects in connection with the ‘kidnap for Christ’ scandal, they should interrogate the suspects to reveal their accomplices so that other children still missing can be found and returned to  their parents.

The parents also released the list of the 47 missing children as well as photos of 23 of the children who were kidnapped from neighbourhoods such as Walalambe, Walawai Hotoro, Kawo and Tinshama, all in Kano city.

Also, another member of the group, Tajiri Hotoro, had told journalists that the number of missing children abducted within the last four years in Nasarawa local government area alone, is more than 100.

“Quite a number of parents have resigned to their fate. Some do not even have the transport fare to attending our meetings.

“We are calling on government and other relevant agencies to join together to rescue our children. We are in deep agony,” he was quoted as saying.

‘Dangerous trend’

In a statement on Monday, a group of Kano elders, under the platform of Kano Concerned Citizens Initiative (KCCI) condemned what it described as “a specialized organized crime that manipulates religion to exploit the innocent children.”

Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, chairman of the group warned that the abduction of Kano children and converting them to Christianity “is a very dangerous dimension.”

“Whatever was the purpose of these abductions it is still frightening because of the newspaper reports of the horrendous experiences the children underwent. This is a specialized organized crime that manipulates religion to exploit the innocent children. It is widely re-ported that the names of the children were changed and they were “converted” to Christianity. This is a very dangerous dimension,” the statement read.

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Hotoro community blames KEDCO over rise in crimes

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KEDCO

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Residents of Walawa in Hotoro area of Nasarawa Local government, Kano state are blaming the Kano Electricity  Distribution Company (KEDCO) for a rise in  robbery and other criminal activities as result of  power outages in the area.

Speaking to KANO FOCUS one of the residents, Garba Muhammad said KEDCO supplies electricity to the area for only three days per week and plunges them in darkness in the remaining four days.

Mr. Muhammad said the incessant darkness has given cover to hoodlums who rob the residents and commit other forms of crime.

He accused KEDCO of diverting electricity from the transformer serving the community and supplying it to a nearby petrol filling station.

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“There is electricity in our area, but KEDCO removes our fuse for four days just to feed the filling station nearby. Almost 70% of our houses have meters but KEDCO still disconnects our supply.”

“We have reported the matter to the authorities concerned but the situation is yet to change.” He said.

Another resident, Hamza Yahya alleges that KEDCO is deliberately rejecting the power supplied by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) due to its inability to pay for the electricity consumed.

“We are seriously suffering from KEDCO’s exploitation.  Our houses are metered and the power is there in our transformer but the annoying thing is that KEDCO removes the fuse to deny us the electricity.”

“We investigated  the matter and found that TCN brings abundant electric power to Kano but KEDCO only accepts 40-45% of the supply.” He said.

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When contacted, Ibrahim Sani Shawai, KEDCO’s Head of Corporate Communications said he needed some time to respond to the allegation.

Mr Shawai is yet to respond to these complaints three days after they were brought to him.

It could be recalled that KEDCO was recently enmeshed in disputes with the TCN and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over its failure to pay for the electricity consumed in its operational area.

However KEDCO had blamed electricity consumers of amassing huge debts necessitating the company to embark on massive disconnection of power.

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