Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday hosted the Grand Khalifa (overall head) of the Tijjaniyya Islamic Movement World-Wide, Tidjani Ali Bin Arabi, at the State House, Abuja, and expressed happiness that Arabi and his delegation agreed to come and pray for Nigeria in order to surmount its security crisis.
Buhari expressed optimism that the nation would overcome the security challenges, while also praying to God to hear Nigeria’s prayer for an end to the crisis.
The President expressed his readiness to take on the terrorists by pursuing policies to eliminate the security issues facing the nation.
Buhari said his administration “is conscious of its responsibility” with regards to security and would continue to do its best.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be fair to his government in assessing the security issues in the country by reflecting on what obtained at the time he took over in 2015, and the successes, as well as the performance that marked a decisive break from the past, particularly in the North-east and the South-south, adding that the North-west, which had given the nation some “headache”, would soon experience a turnaround for the better.
President Buhari also advised Nigerians to take responsibility and show interest in their own security and complement what the government was doing.
He added: “We have done our best and we will continue to do more by pursuing coherent and consistent policies to deal with terrorism. I hope God will listen to our prayers.”
The President appreciated the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, who brought the Grand Khalifa to Nigeria, saying:
“We thank you for inviting them to come to pray for peace and stability in our country. We are grateful that they agreed to come.”
He joined them in praying that God gives guidance and strength to leaders to be accountable and do right in all the things that they do.
Earlier in his speech, Ganduje, while introducing the Khalifa and his delegation, which included the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero and Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, the leader of the Tijjaniyya Islamic Movement in Nigeria, said the government of Kano State invited the Tijjaniyya World Leader to the country to lead the faithful in prayer, considering the complexities around security in particular.
According to him, the visit of the Grand Khalifa had also rekindled the old ties between the Tijjaniya and the many cultural and educational institutions in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Tijjaniyya leader in the country, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi and the Grand Khalifa, Tidjani Ali Bin Arabi extolled the existing cordial relations between Nigeria and Algeria and prayed for guidance and blessings for the country and its leaders.
Why Kano State Invited Arabi
Commenting on the reason the Kano State Government invited the Grand Khalifa, Ganduje said it was aimed at developing a good relationship between Algeria and the city of Kano.
He said: “It is a kind of rekindling of the relationship because Kano is an old civilization, with so many Ulama (Ismamic scholars) from Algeria hundreds of years ago, who came to Kano to assist the development of Sharia leadership in Kano State.
“So, the invitation to the world leader of Tijanniyya Islamic Movement is a welcome development for the people of Kano State and for the people of Nigeria. We invited him and his team to pray for Nigeria for peace, stability and prosperity, and also to pray for peace and stability of Kano State and the whole of Nigeria.
“We are all aware of the security challenges we’re having at the federal government and state governments levels; we are all doing our best. But praise to Allah subhana wa taala. He will also assist because Allah requested us to request from him, and he can grant us our request. So, as you can see, he was in Kano for four days. We were together until Friday prayers. In the Emir’s Palace, he offered prayers and we had a grand occasion at Sani Abacha Stadium attended by many Ulama from all over Africa, from Nigeria, and from 44 local governments.
“Lectures were delivered for peace and stability of this country and also, prayers were offered. Also, we decided to use the Tijanniyya Islamic Movement as a tool for building relationships. We organised a lecture with Bayero University, where we examined the history, the origin and the spread of the movement in Africa.
“Also in Kano State, we constituted a committee with his team in order to look into issues of education, commerce, and agriculture. So, we have developed a very well-coordinated synergy in order to improve the quality of life of the people of Kano State. And by extension, we offered national prayers for peace and stability of this country.
“To round it off, we decided to have a courtesy call with Mr. President, where they prayed for him, where they indicated the importance of the relationship between Algeria and Nigeria, and where they indicated their continued cooperation in prayers for peace and stability of Nigeria. That is what brought us to the villa.”
Ganduje also stated firday that his state has the highest number of Almajiri children among the Northern states in the country.
He, however, stressed that most of the Almajiri, who are in millions, were not citizens of Kano State but from other states and neighbouring countries like Niger and Mali.
The governor, who spoke with newsmen at the State House, Abuja after meeting with President Buhari, said necessary steps were being taken by the state’s government to resolve the Almajiri issue.
According to him, the measures include introduction of compulsory free education up to secondary level, reformation of the Almajiri system of education in the state and repatriation of some Almajiris to neighbouring Cameroun and Niger Republic.
Ganduje said: “But as you will know, unless there’s a universal legislation, preventing the movement of school-aged children from one state to another, it is a problem that will continue to be here for a long time because Kano is a commercial nerve centre of the Northern part of this country and also a commercial nerve centre of some West African countries.
“So, you can imagine people coming to earn their livelihood. They usually come with children, but we have enacted a law, any parent that does not put his child into school will be prosecuted. So, now, we have established a whole agency that is now evacuating the Almajiri to their respective states. And those who are in Kano enjoy the free education facilities.
“That is the effort we are making. But as I told you, unless there is universal synergy, especially among the Northern states’ governors, where there is legislation preventing the movement of Almajiri from one state to another, Kano will continue to bear this problem.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja