SanusiThe Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has called for the conversion of mosques to schools to save cost and boost education in the old northern region. Sanusi, made this call during the graduation ceremony of 2,500 Post Graduate Diploma and NCE teachers on the third day of Kano Basic Education week. The ceremony took place on February 7.

He said that “if you look at our educational needs viz a viz the infrastructure deficit, it has become imperative to convert existing mosques to primary schools, and aside cost reduction in this era of recession, it would accelerate education development in the region. It is not all the time that we pray and these utilities remain idle for the better part of the day. It will be highly rewarding if we convert them to learning institutions as obtains in other climes.” When you convert these mosques to institutions of learning in your domain, you simply bring education to the door steps of citizens at less cost”

Sanusi also suggested recently that “educating the girl-child was more important than building mosques”

However, this suggestion is being trailed by controversy from leading Northern leaders. Dr Junaid Mohammed, a notable politician from the north, has described Sanusi’s suggestion as mischievous. “Ordinarily, I won’t dignify the statement credited to the Emir with any response because the Emir talks from both sides of his mouth. Though, I agree that there are too many mosques all around and more functional schools need to be built, I don’t think converting a mosque or church to school is what will solve the problem. I believe the issue of million beggars on streets in the North is what should have formed the basis of discussion and not the issue of converting mosques to schools.”

Similarly, Abubakar Tsav, former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, said that Sanusi was wrongly applying economic theory to religious worship. “It is wrong to apply economics to the worship of God. The choice of doing that is personal and should be between governors and their people. People do things which they believe in. However, if the mosques are converted to schools, how can that add value? In that part of the country, people believe that to worship God is better than worship of worldly things.”

However, Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kaduna State has endorsed the suggestion. “I believe the conversion of mosques into primary schools is in order. I think the call by the Emir of Kano is a good one. Before now, some disgruntled elements have tried to portray the North and Islam in bad light. With this call by the Emir, I am optimistic that it will reduce radicalism in the region and erase the wrong impression people have regarding Islam,” he said.

By Dike Onwuamaeze

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