Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sanusi: Northern Nigeria has refused to recognise that the Muslim world has moved on

Sanusi: Northern Nigeria has refused to recognise that the Muslim world has moved on
April 05
13:09 2017

Muhammad Sanusi II, the emir of Kano, says northern Nigeria needs to move on from the 13th century mindset of Islam, emphasising that the rest of the Muslim world has moved on.

Speaking to the theme ‘promoting investments in the midst of economic challenges’, Sanusi said northern Nigeria has not been paying attention to providing necessary education and healthcare for the girl child.

“We are in denial. The north-west and the north-east, demographically, constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population, but look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at marternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita, the north-east and the north-west Nigeria, are among the poorest parts of the world,” Sanusi said.

“As far back at 2000, I looked at the numbers, Borno and Yobe state, UNDP figures, Borno and Yobe states, if they were a country on their own, were poorer than Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

“Nobody saw this because we were looking at Nigeria as a country that averages the oil-rich Niger Delta, the industrial and commercial-rich Lagos, the commercially viable southeast, and you have an average.

“Break Nigeria into its component parts, and these parts of the country are among the poorest, if it were a country. And we do not realise we are in trouble.”

He said books preaching love were being burnt in northern Nigeria, calling for better interpretations of Islamic views, which can drive a better life for women and the girl-child.

“We need to understand the roots of the problem of northern Nigeria. Burning books, it happened in Kano, what is the crime of those books? They were writing about (love), and love apparently is supposed to be a bad word,” he said.

“In a society where you don’t love your women and you don’t love your children, you allow them to beg, you beat up your women, why should anyone talk about love?

“We have adopted an interpretation of our culture and our religion that is rooted in the 13th century mindset, that refuses to recognise that the rest of the Muslim world has moved on.

“Today in Malaysia, you wake up and divorce your wife, that is fine. But you give her 50 percent of all the wealth you acquired since you married her. It is a Muslim country. In Nigeria, you wake up after 20 years of marriage, you say to your wife, ‘I divorce you’, and that’s it.

“Other Muslim nations have pushed forward girl-child education, they’ve pushed forward science and technology. They have pushed forward the arts. We have this myth in northern Nigeria, where we try to creat an Islamic society that never existed.

“We are fighting culture, we are fighting civilisation. We must wage an intellectual war, because Islam is not univocal; there are many voices, there are many interpretations, there are many viewpoints, and we have for too long allow the ascendancy of the most conservative viewpoints. The consequencies of that is that there are certain social problems.”


Sanusi said the north needs to fix fundamental social and religious issues to see a flux of investments into the region.

“In 1960, land per rural dweller in Nigeria was two hectares, today, it is 0.9 hectares, in a decade it will be 0.5 hectares.

“Some of these has been environmental desertification, some of it had been huge demographic explosion and we do not want to address it. The age at which girls get out of school and married, the number of children that they have; having babies every year.

“The number of wives people marry when they cannot maintain them and their children. These subjects have been tabooed, but we cannot fix the north and get investments into the north until we confront these subjects.

“What is our attitude towards educating our girls? What is our attitude child spacing, so  that we can financially maintain and educate and bring up children? What is the purpose of a large population that is not educated, that is jobless, that is unemployed?”


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Social Comments


  1. Abdullahi
    Abdullahi April 05, 15:28

    I cannot agree more with these viewpoints. The Emir has hit the nail on the head. Northern Nigeria lags behind other parts of the Islamic world because of the conservative, backward and anti intellectual interpretation of Islam bequeathed to us by our Scholars and Traditional institutions. These 2 groups feed each other to the detriment of Islam and the poor people of Northern Nigeria. There is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of our social norms with official introduction of family planning, marriage reforms and mass education for all. The Islamic world has left us behind. Perhaps our traditional African culture has greatly influenced our interpretation of Islam hence the stagnation, backwardness and retrogression

    Reply to this comment
    • Omo Naija
      Omo Naija April 07, 16:12

      Brother ask yourself again.What is your problem? There are Moslem faithfuls living in the southern parts of Nigeria.These people have continued to excel in any discipline and vocation of their choice.They do not appear stagnated as you admired you are.Look elsewhere to lay your blame.Our rich African traditions and cultures will not be be ignorantly bashed.Your problems would not go away if you remain in denial.You and I know that politics is the problem of Islam in northern Nigeria.And you sir are being political by stealth as practiced by the 1% .Be like the Emir.Say it as it is.Refrain from ” perhapsism” in the future…my ten kobo.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Stevo
    Stevo April 05, 20:02

    I like the Emir for his frankness on northern backwardness. It is high time they wake up and confront this monster called poverty and illiteracy that has defined the people and the society. Politicians have made mockery of the people for long. A governor will waked up and said meningitis is as a result of sin, is that not illiteracy and I don’t care attitude. If that man should contests presidential election with southerner you know our response already, yet we want development and growth. Please let us get back to the drawing board for future of our children.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Fadafrique
    Fadafrique April 06, 05:57

    This is a call to order for the northern leader, thank God it came from the head. May God help the north and Nigeria at large.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Kawu buba
    Kawu buba April 06, 06:01

    A very good observation

    Reply to this comment
  5. Necherem
    Necherem April 06, 08:05

    Your comment..True Talk!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Mohammed Ibrahim Attah
    Mohammed Ibrahim Attah April 06, 09:37

    All those who commented above are all Southern Christians, and they agreed and praised the Emir of Kano for the piece. The only person who commented positively from the North is Abdullahi. Yet we still have people from the North who don’t like the Emir to pass any comments on any issue in Nigeria. The world Leadership is for the educated and we are lucky our Emir of Kano combined both western and the right and qualitative Islamic Education, he is therefore competent to talk on any issue. So please we Northerners should learn from the Emir’s speech when ever he speaks. It would solve a lot of our present socio economic and socio political problems.

    Reply to this comment
  7. aliyu mahmoud
    aliyu mahmoud April 06, 12:29

    well, he talk a lot of sense but he neglected a vital issue militating the development of northern nigeria. that is almajirci system of islamic education. both boys and girls education are facing serious challenges. almajirci system for me is a catastrophe in the north leading to the emergence of society without essence and concrete educational base. let sanusi be bold enough to come out and condemn this sordid educational practice that particularly affect boys.

    Reply to this comment
    • Emmanuel Ivoko
      Emmanuel Ivoko April 07, 18:44

      I agree with you. Parochial schools such as Islamic schools should be mandated to incorporate circular education into their curriculum for them to be recognized by government. Otherwise,we will continue to raise ignorant children who are not prepared for the responsibilities of adult life.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Rexa Blow
    Rexa Blow April 06, 18:13

    Your comment..the emir has indeed spoken very well. Let those who have hear hear it. All the things he talked about are challenges facing the northern Nigeria. It is high time the northern elite not just the emir cone up with concrete effort to solve the northern part of the country. As he said, the northern population constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population, it is an advantage to the north.
    Thank you HRM. The Emir of Kano.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Don
    Don April 06, 21:09

    Your comment.. May God Almighty use you for good Change.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Akin Akinbola
    Akin Akinbola April 07, 17:00

    HRM, has spoken well, I like his blunt and consistent comments on national issues ,from way back his tenure as central bank governor .
    You and I can see today that he has been vindicated in his utterances on the last administration.
    The Northern elite need his kind to effect the much needed transformation in the north .

    Reply to this comment
    NICEGUY April 28, 16:12

    Waw quite impress with all the comments here now that we have identified the problem let’s make a move by solving them

    Reply to this comment
  12. Hyacienth Na'anmiap
    Hyacienth Na'anmiap September 04, 16:13

    This problem with our people is deeper than even imagined. I have had the opportunity of working for an international NGO some years back and we had a multimillion € Primary healthcare program in the northern part of the country. Those facilities that were empowered to provide the much needed healthcare to the most underserved in the rural communities became the first targets of attack during every religious upheavals due to the fact that they are Christian faith based (ignoring the fact that over 90% of beneficiaries to those clinics are moslems).
    Basically, we keep shooting ourselves in the leg and keep believing we are hurting our enemy! So sad!!!

    Reply to this comment

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