549 views | Abdulkadir Salaudeen | June 11, 2021
The offence of this innocent kids is that they committed no offence. To commit no offence has recently become an offence in our dear country. A common saying, courtesy of our corrupt political system which gives wings to corruption and the corrupt, is “steal goat and rot in prison; loot billions of naira from public funds and become a hero”. Should we now say ‘seek knowledge and waste your life’? For I don’t understand why students are becoming endangered. This is even worrisome as the occurrence of students’ kidnapping is more frequent in the northern states which are still considered Educationally Less Developed States (ELDS). Are there attempts to kill education in the North? I alluded to this in my article titled “The Devil Called ‘Four Point Scale’ and the Fate of Education in the North”.
These little students (numbering 136) were kidnapped in Tegina at Rafi Local Government of Niger State. Less than a week, 88 people were reportedly killed by bandits in a state next to it (Kebbi). Where do we go from here? Who did this to us? Thereafter, the Kebbi State Governoradmonished his people (the Kebbians)—who elected him primarily to protect them—to regard the tragic incident as an act of Almighty Allah! I think he was confused or perhaps quoted out of context.
He urged the residents to pray for Allah’s intervention. This annoyed many people and his statement elicited many disappointing reactions which are considered blasphemous. In fact, someone said; ‘it means the Allah of the Muslims is the one behind all these killings’! Subhaanallah! Truly our souls are owned by Allah who created them; no doubt. And He has the right to take them back since we are mortals, but to say Allah is behind these gruesome killings is very disappointing. So, who do you blame for this? I will return to this later.
The import Islam attaches to knowledge is such that one would conclude that ‘you cannot be a Muslim and, at the same time, an ignorant’. Attacks on students and schools in the region could only amount to wiping away knowledge from it. This trend must be reversed. Join me to read some of the Prophetic sayings on the virtues of knowledge to understand why parents are eager, and why they should be eager, to send their wards to school.
The Prophet (SAW) said “This world is cursed, as everything in it, except for remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and what he likes (righteous deeds etc.), and a SCHOLAR or a STUDENT.” (Trimidhi).“The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it” (Bukhari).“Seeking knowledge is compulsory upon every Muslim” (IbnMajah). In fact “The angels lower their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge” (Trimidhi)
This is why parents enrolled their children into the Islamic school for them to grow up as virtuous and pious adults; not like these marauding kidnappers and bandits. This noble endeavour which should be appreciated by all sane people in any sane clime has, sadly, invited the wrath of these nihilistic bandits and kidnappers. These children, going by their ages, are supposed to be under the continuous care of their caring parents. Sadly, however, they are currently under the ‘care’ of the uncaring, unfeeling and hard-hearted sadists who derive pleasures in unleashing terror and discomforting people. Though we have government!
Being a teacher, whatever affects students negatively—with no fault of theirs—pisses me off. These students are sinless like angels; respected by angels as pointed above. If angels appreciate what they do, those whose ember of anger gets fanned because these pupils seek knowledge are nothing but agents of Shaitan (Satan). I don’t know what better qualifies these kidnappers than this.
Many parents have lost hope in government-owned schools. This, not only in the north—it is all over. If you think you are hard-hearted and can hardly be moved to tears, all you need do is to visit some of these ghost like government schools (outside most state capitals). The sight of these schools will make a stream of tears rolled down your cheeks. These schools are crammed full of students just as the historical black slaves of sad memory were crammed into slave ships. One would wonder if Nigerians actually pay taxes and if these taxes are remitted to the government. Thus, asking if government exists in this country might not be a stupid question. What a country!
The situation is more confounded in the north. Education in the North faces many challenges. Let’s put aside those of government, there are cultural and religious challenges. Add to it, if you like, the ideological challenge of ‘Boko’ itself being haram (unlawful) or halal (lawful). There is the challenge of poverty which prevents many willing parents to send their children to school. Now again, kidnappers.
The Islaamiyahschools in the North which most parents who are not well to do find accessible and affordable are becoming soft targets. This is not the first timeIslaamiyah students were kidnapped, it happened in Katsina State few days after the Kankara’s kidnapping. Here we are again. That is why I could not hide my amazement at the senseless assertion made by some who thought the Greenfield students (happily, now released) were kidnapped because they are Christians. These nihilist kidnappers are blindingly indiscriminate with regards to their prey’s religion, and they are colour-blind. What they know and want is money, money, money (and recently) motor bikes.
Thus, if we insist there is government in this country, we must also agree that there is ‘government’ in government. It is high time our elected leaders owned up to their failure. The Prophet (SAW) said “There is no person whom Allah puts in charge of others, and when he dies he is insincere to his subjects, but Allah will forbid Paradise to him” (Muslim, 142). Our heads of departments, ministries, agencies, governments etc. should ask themselves if they are sincere to their subjects. They should not take the warning of our noble Prophet with levity.
Lastly, it is not the practice of the Prophet to resign to fate without action when calamity strikes. Let me cite one example.Some people came to the Prophet (SAW) and the climate of Madeenah made them sick, so they said: “O Messenger of Allah, get us some milk.” He said: “I think the best thing for you is to go to the camels…” So they went there and drank some of their milk and urine (as they are medicinal), then when they had recovered and gained weight, they killed the herdsman and drove away the camels. Someone came to the Prophet (SAW) shouting for help, and he sent a party out in pursuit of them. Not much of the day had passed before they were caught and brought to him and they were killed(Bukhari).
The Prophet did not tell the family of the deceased to see it as an act of Allah but he took action. The bandits were apprehended and killed. Note that there weren’t helicopters, fighter jets, and other modern warfare equipment at the Prophet’s disposal. However, and unfortunately, students were kidnapped; herded like cattle into forest. UGM killed with impunity. All we have to tell the deceased families is that they should accept it as an act of Allah. We were even told not to be ‘cowards’; we should defend ourselves, though it is illegal to keep and bear arms. This is senseless and calamitous.
We ask Allah to touch the hearts of these kidnappers to facilitate the release of these pupils. Our Lord! Let these parents happily receive their children alive. Help lift this calamity from us and let peace reign in our country.