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Kano Council of Ulama rejects Ganduje’s Almajiri ban

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Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil

Nasiru Yusuf

The Kano State Council of Ulama has rejected Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s decision to proscribe child beggars popularly known as almajirai  from roaming the streets across the state to beg for alms.

Mr Ganduje, who announced the ban on Tuesday  also threatened to arrest and prosecute any parent that allows their children to roam the streets.

The governor warned that henceforth any teacher with pupils under the Almajiri school arrangement must accept the new approach put in place by the state government, explaining that, “if you think you cannot accept that then you leave the state.”

“When beggars are caught, it is not only that beggar is caught, but his parents or guardians. Such parents or guardians would be taken to court for disrespecting our laws,” Mr Ganduje said.

‘Not serious’

However, in an interview with KANO FOCUS on Wednesday, Chairman of the Ulama Council, Sheikh Ibrahim Khalil said the ban on almajirai  “is not feasible and the government is not serious”.

According to him, necessary steps towards curtailing the practice have not been taken or put in place before taking the decision.

“To us at the Council of Ulama, the government can not do it and is not serious about it. They are just doing it to appease their masters abroad, or get their money or some kind of noise making.

“Or they might have been accused of something from somewhere for which they simply organise a ceremony and that is all. That is our opinion” he said.

Different type of beggars

Sheikh Khalil, a renowned Islamic scholar, who had advocated against street begging gave a brief history of efforts made in the past to curtail the menace but failed “because serious and necessary measures were not taken.”

He  said the real street beggars should be identified.

“The right steps to follow in banning street begging include: the Quranic clerics involved have to be identified because there are street beggars who are Quranic students.

“And there are beggars who were sent by their parents from the rural areas to come and be begging in the urban areas, there is also another form of begging by some physically challenged individuals.

“All these forms of street beggars need to be identified and each one addressed accordingly. But they have not done that.

“So, for the ban to work, there has to be a cooperation between the government and the Quranic clerics. You have to sit with them and understand why they engage in begging, get some statistics, know the total number of those engaging in street begging among them.

“If you identify all these, it is then that you will come to know exactly beggars that are not Almajiris Quranic students,” Sheikh Khalil explained.

‘Join hands with neighbouring states’

The cleric also observed that Kano state cannot unilaterally end street begging without collaborating with neighboring states.

“More so, you can not stop begging in the state without joining hands with the neighbouring states.

“If you recall, there was the case of a man who sent three of his children to the city to be begging for sustenance because he wanted to place his new wife in the room they were occupying.

“You can see that these kids are not necessarily Almajiris or Quranic pupils.

“Therefore, you need statistics of the real situation, know the total number of the Quranic teachers, the total number of the Quranic schools and their pupils, know exactly who the real Almajiris are first.

“You will then know their needs understand their problems and then proffer the right solutions. “You can decide to cater for them or send them back to their homes. But you have not conducted all these,” he advised.

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NCC orders telecom operators to block SIMs without NIN

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission has reiterated its directive to telecom operators to bar telephone subscribers not linked to their National Identification Numbers on or before February 28, 2024.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Executive Vice Chairman, National Communication Commission, Dr Aminu Maida, spoke at the NCC’s Special Day during the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair on Wednesday.

Maida who was represented by Reuben Mouka, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, insisted that as a matter of critical national security, telecom consumers must link their NIN to their SIM.

He reaffirmed that the February 28th deadline given to telecom operators to bar subscribers who failed to link their NIN to SIM, stands.

“To this end, the National Communication Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024,” he added.

This, the executive vice chairman said, was apt as the theme resonated with the principles and objectives of the commission in promoting local content development in the telecom industry.

Maida also said the NCC was committed to protecting consumers’ rights while ensuring their satisfaction and noting that the commission has created a universally acceptable environment to access “affordable and equitable service and supports the nation’s economic growth.”

“As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging on ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities,” he said.

For instance, he continued that the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internatonal Airport Abuja The TELCARE desk was set up to further provide an additional platform to make enquiries on customer issues, receive and facilitate the resolution of telecom consumer complaints.

He explained that by “working together, we can create a more vibrant telecommunications industry that contributes significantly to the economic recovery and growth.”

According to him, as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5% (Source – Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023-A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Conversely, as we promote economic growth through the development of local content, we must also address the challenges faced by consumers and NCC is committed to protecting their rights while ensuring their satisfaction.

The NCC boss, therefore urged telecom firms to prioritize customer satisfaction and uphold the highest standards of service delivery, noting that the commission has implemented measures to safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses alike.

One such measure, he said, was the NCC’s directive on May 17, 2023, that all licensed Mobile Network Operators commence implementation of approved Harmonised Short Codes for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers.

“The new initiative is enabling consumers using the over 224 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the NCC boss disclosed that as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5 per cent, according to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023 – A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

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ACT closure: Kano beneficiaries share testimonies

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

As the the Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) programme held a close out event in Kano, some beneficiaries have shared their testimonies during their engagement.

KANO FOCUS reports that the beneficiaries take a cue to share positive experience obtained during their engagement with ACT programme.

The president of Kano Civil Society Forum (UCSF) Comrade Ibrahim Waiya was the first to share experience on the benefits derived from ACT programme.

Comrade Ibrahim Waiya

KCSF had received €1 084,63 to create awareness and sensitise the public on
the spread of COVID-19 in Kano State.

In her testimony, the Executive Director of SACALSUN Hauwa Adamu Kakuri, a breast cancer survivor who set up an NGO for cancer awareness campaign recalled how the mentorship she received from CS-CRIN, one of the ACT grantees, empowered her to secured a 10,000 dollar grant.

Appraising the implementation of the programme in Kano state the programme officer of CARAV Abba Bello said they have secured a grant from ACT where they work on strengthening community response on gender based violence at Nassarwa Dala and Kumbotso local government areas.

He cited an example of one intervention at Sheka quartees in Kumbotso local government area where they rehabilitate some young girls who engages in commercial sex.

For Abdurrazaq Alkali, the Executive Director of OCCEN, said ACT has supported them to promote good governance and accountability in Kano where their advocacy led to the passage of procurement law.

Abdurrazaq Alkali

Also commenting chairman of Kano State Accountability Forum on Education (K-SAFE) Professor Muhammad Bello Shittu commended ACT for identifying credible Civil Society Organisations and supporting them.

Professor Muhammad Bello Shittu

He equally commended ACT engagement with regulatory bodies such as Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) during the course of their intervention especially by developing a regulatory framework that is humanly understandable.

Professor Shittu expressed optimism that the lesson learned from the project would be sustained even after the exit of the programme.

He lamented that in many instances once the donor leave, the project dies, despite huge capital and material investmentinvestment.

The event featured presentation from the commissioner of special duties Hajiya Amina Abdullahi Sani (GOD), representative of Emir of Kano Alhaji Sule Gaya (Dan Goribar Kano), ACT National Programme Manager Damilare Babalola, ACT Kano state Focal Person Hajiya Rabi Adamu and ACT communication and media engagement adviser Hajiya Lauratu Abdussalam.

The Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) is a four-year EU programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council, Nigeria. The programme is linked to the reform objectives of the three EU focal sectors of the 11th National Indicative programme (NIP).

The ACT programme was designed as a response strategy to the EU’s identified need to invest and engage more with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria as required under the larger global EU CSO roadmap framework. EU-ACT recognises that strengthened civil society actors have great potential to contribute to thechange achievement of sustainable development, ACT programme focused on strengthening the capability of CSOs to become more effective and credible drivers of change.

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High Court jails two bureau de change operators in Kano

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

The Federal High Court Kano presided over by Justice Mohammed Nasir Tuesday, convicted and sentenced two illegal bureau de change operators to one year imprisonment each for operating BDC without an appropriate licence.

KANO FOCUS reports that the convicts: Munkaila Sani and Mohammed Sani were jailed after pleading guilty to one-count separate charge bordering on engaging in financial operations of bureau de change without a requisite licence, upon their arraignment by the Kano Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The lone-count charge reads ‘’That you Munkaila Sani sometime in February, 2024 in Kano within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did engage in a financial operation of bureau de change without a valid licence and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 57 (5) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020 and punishable under Section 57 (5) (B) of the same act.’’

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges when they were read to them. Based on their pleas, prosecution counsel, Aisha Tahar Habib prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

Counsel to the defendants, Abdulrahman Isah pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the suspect are elderly and have become remorseful for their actions.

Consequently, Justice Yunusa convicted and sentenced the defendants to one year imprisonment each.

The convicts’ began their journey to the Correctional Centre when they were arrested by operatives of the Commission around Wapa BDC market and Grand Central Hotel, Kano, following reliable intelligence about their involvement in a syndicate operating bureau de change businesses without an appropriate licence.

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