Dambazzau,Modibbo,Ahmad, Kukah ,Others X-ray Insecurity at Muslim Forum in UK



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The Nigeria Muslim Forum UK  has held its 22nd Annual Winter Conference at Stamford Court University Of Leicester, UK  on December 22, 2012 Corresponding Safar 9, 1434 .Among the dignitaries  from Nigeria who spoke during the conference were Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami, a senior lecturer at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi who is  presently undertaking a PhD at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK; former Chief of Army Staff Lt General (Retired) Abdur-rahman Dambazau, who is also a fellow at Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, US; former Minister for Federal Capital Territory Dr Aliyu Modibbo and publisher of a Hausa newspapers, Rariya; the President Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria (SCSN) and highly respected medical practitioner Dr Ibrahim Datti Ahmad; the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Reverend Dr Mathew Hassan Kukah, who was unavoidably absent but made a pre-recorded video presentation; and Dr Abdullahi Shehu, a consultant neurologist at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, a founding member and one of the trustees of Forum

A communiqué at the end of the conference which was email to Newsdiaryonline.com said “General Dambazau’s paper titled ‘Poverty Alleviation, Security and Stability’ addressed the question from social, economic and political points of view. He began by making the meaning of poverty clearer, using verified statistical indexes to establish his arguments. The retired general also looked at the ranking of Nigeria on the poverty table and argued that it is among one of the 20 most poverty stricken countries in the world; and the North-West is most hit while South-West of the country is least affected. In diagnosing the problem he considered the various roles factors like people’s (cultural) attitude to education, population (improper planning, caring), alienation and disempowerment of women, the almajiri syndrome, neglect of agriculture, the culture of corruption and poor governance in the country, unemployment, proliferation of small arms and drug misuse are playing in fuelling or worsening poverty and insecurity in the country. He submitted that the solution lies in effectively combating poverty in all its ramifications.

“In his paper ‘Alternative Sources of Wealth in Nigeria’ Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar emphasised the inestimable value of alternative sources of wealth that have so far suffered neglect. He discussed this under three broad headlines (agricultural, solid mineral and manufactured products and services) and listed examples of individual sources vastly distributed on the land. He also identified markets across the world where such products/produces can easily be exported to earn huge revenue rather than entirely relying on oil as is the case today. Dr Umar ended his presentation by analysing the potential success or otherwise of exploiting these sources as a means of combating poverty and extolled the benefit of remittance from the Diaspora communities to their home country towards achieving this objective.
Also “Dr Datti Ahmad presented the fourth paper ‘Sharia: The Challenges of Implementation Towards Poverty Alleviation’ in which he explained the relevance of understanding and appropriately applying Sharia in alleviating poverty. Rather than being just a system of jurisprudence in which rules are set and penalties prescribed he used documented case studies to show how, for example through Zakat or charity, Sharia provides means for supporting the poor. According to him five out of eight categories of the recipients of Zakat are those who need it most, namely i)The poor (ii) The destitute (iii)The overburdened by debt (iv)The Slaves and (v)The wayfarers. Thus, he said, if Zakat is applied in an organized way it is the most potent poverty alleviation institution due to its wide range and continuous application.
“In his contribution to the discussions Dr Kukah stressed that poverty is one of the main causes of intolerance in the society, which in turn leads to conflict and insecurity. People, he said, react to poverty in various manners and that they respond to conflict in ways they feel would bring them justice. He also blamed the deterioration of the situation on injustice and warned that injustice will continue to breed violence in Nigeria unless something is done to ensure equitable dispensation of justice. He explained that diversity should be seen as an advantage to the society as it enhances growth, although in Northern Nigeria the reverse is the case due to the failure to manage it well in view of the crises the region faces. He therefore advocated respect for human dignity as opposed
to simply  tolerating each other and significant boost to governments’ poverty alleviation policies. He also urged the Diaspora communities to, in addition to financially lending support, contribute ideas toward tackling the challenges and elevate the status of the country internationally.”
“Dr Shehu’s paper ‘Good Governance and Poverty Alleviation’ was the final one and in it he lamented the poor living conditions of the people even when compared to smaller and much poorer African countries. Poverty, he posited, could result in anarchy and possibly snowball to violence or terrorism and therefore must be tackled head on. He also emphasized the need for good and accountable leadership in the country, which he said is a prerequisite for peace and security. To the NMFUK he advised the organization to continue in its bid to support the people back home in various ways with even further commitment.


Read details of the communiqué below:

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE NIGERIA MUSLIM FORUM UK 22ND ANNUAL WINTER CONFERENCE HELD AT STAMFORD COURT UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER, UK ON DECEMBER 22, 2012 CORRESPONDING SAFAR 9, 1434
PREAMBLE
Disturbed by incessant eruptions of violence in Northern Nigeria, usually termed ethno-religious conflict, and the current alarming deterioration of the situation in view of the sectarian insurgence in the North-East especially, the Nigeria Muslim Forum hereafter referred to as NMFUK, a charity registered in the United Kingdom and comprising Nigerians settled or pursuing academic qualifications in the country, convened a one-day conference to address salient issues regarding the crises. Having at previous meetings realised the immense role poverty plays in precipitating or amplifying conflict a theme was coined to: (i) intensely diagnose and identify the root causes of the problem(s); (ii) pragmatically proffer solutions that would stand the test of time; and (iii) ensure the message is conveyed to both those responsible for making policies and those for whom the policies are made. It was on this basis the theme ‘Poverty Alleviation and Good Governance: Tools for Conflict Resolution’ was agreed.
Under five sub-themes directly connected to the subject-matter Nigerians from different parts of the world and with expertise in various disciplines congregated and presented papers that immensely addressed the above action points. Among the presenters were: Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami, a senior lecturer at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi and presently undertaking a PhD at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK; former Chief of Army Staff Lt General (Retired) Abdur-rahman Dambazau, who is also a fellow at Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, US; former Minister for Federal Capital Territory Dr Aliyu Modibbo and publisher of a Hausa newspapers, Rariya; the President Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria (SCSN) and highly respected medical practitioner Dr Ibrahim Datti Ahmad; the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Reverend Dr Mathew Hassan Kukah, who was unavoidably absent but made a pre-recorded video presentation; and Dr Abdullahi Shehu, a consultant neurologist at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, a founding member and one of the trustees of NMFUK.
STRUCTURE OF THE CONFERENCE
First Phase
The occasion began with the Annual General Meeting of NMFUK, chaired by one of its trustees and a founding member Mallam Abba Mohammed Bashir Shuwa. During this part the Ameer Dr Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u, Secretary General Dr Mukhtar Ahmad and Treasurer Mallam Mahmud Dodo made presentations on the state of the organisation, its activities since becoming a charity and its current financial status. The AGM ended with the announcement and adoption of amendments to the NMFUK’s constitution by its members, more than 200 of whom were in attendance from across the United Kingdom.
Second Phase
The second part of the conference, which was chaired by Professor Mashood Baderin Head of School of Law at SOAS, started off with Sheikh Pantami’s presentation entitled ‘Good Governance: An Islamic Perspective’ in which he succinctly addressed the question of leadership even from within the NMFUK citing the example of Dr Yusha’u’s choice as Ameer for the second time against his own wish, which saw him making tremendous strives in furtherance of the causes of the organisation. Sheikh Pantami also referred to the leadership examples of Prophets Musa (ASW) and Muhammad (SAW) who lived amongst and led people that were generally difficult and under decadent systems but were just and fair to all, which made governance successful. He concluded that the so-called religious conflicts in Nigeria are irreligious and that leadership is Nigeria’s main problem even as he admonished leaders to be just and God fearing.
General Dambazau’s paper titled ‘Poverty Alleviation, Security and Stability’ addressed the question from social, economic and political points of view. He began by making the meaning of poverty clearer, using verified statistical indexes to establish his arguments. The retired general also looked at the ranking of Nigeria on the poverty table and argued that it is among one of the 20 most poverty stricken countries in the world; and the North-West is most hit while South-West of the country is least affected. In diagnosing the problem he considered the various roles factors like people’s (cultural) attitude to education, population (improper planning, caring), alienation and disempowerment of women, the almajiri syndrome, neglect of agriculture, the culture of corruption and poor governance in the country, unemployment, proliferation of small arms and drug misuse are playing in fuelling or worsening poverty and insecurity in the country. He submitted that the solution lies in effectively combating poverty in all its ramifications.
In his paper ‘Alternative Sources of Wealth in Nigeria’ Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar emphasised the inestimable value of alternative sources of wealth that have so far suffered neglect. He discussed this under three broad headlines (agricultural, solid mineral and manufactured products and services) and listed examples of individual sources vastly distributed on the land. He also identified markets across the world where such products/produces can easily be exported to earn huge revenue rather than entirely relying on oil as is the case today. Dr Umar ended his presentation by analysing the potential success or otherwise of exploiting these sources as a means of combating poverty and extolled the benefit of remittance from the Diaspora communities to their home country towards achieving this objective.
Dr Datti Ahmad presented the fourth paper ‘Sharia: The Challenges of Implementation Towards Poverty Alleviation’ in which he explained the relevance of understanding and appropriately applying Sharia in alleviating poverty. Rather than being just a system of jurisprudence in which rules are set and penalties prescribed he used documented case studies to show how, for example through Zakat or charity, Sharia provides means for supporting the poor. According to him five out of eight categories of the recipients of Zakat are those who need it most, namely i)The poor (ii) The destitute (iii)The overburdened by debt (iv)The Slaves and (v)The wayfarers. Thus, he said, if Zakat is applied in an organized way it is the most potent poverty alleviation institution due to its wide range and continuous application.
In his contribution to the discussions Dr Kukah stressed that poverty is one of the main causes of intolerance in the society, which in turn leads to conflict and insecurity. People, he said, react to poverty in various manners and that they respond to conflict in ways they feel would bring them justice. He also blamed the deterioration of the situation on injustice and warned that injustice will continue to breed violence in Nigeria unless something is done to ensure equitable dispensation of justice. He explained that diversity should be seen as an advantage to the society as it enhances growth, although in Northern Nigeria the reverse is the case due to the failure to manage it well in view of the crises the region faces. He therefore advocated respect for human dignity as opposed
to simply
tolerating each other and significant boost to governments’ poverty alleviation policies. He also urged the Diaspora communities to, in addition to financially lending support, contribute ideas toward tackling the challenges and elevate the status of the country internationally.
Dr Shehu’s paper ‘Good Governance and Poverty Alleviation’ was the final one and in it he lamented the poor living conditions of the people even when compared to smaller and much poorer African countries. Poverty, he posited, could result in anarchy and possibly snowball to violence or terrorism and therefore must be tackled head on. He also emphasized the need for good and accountable leadership in the country, which he said is a prerequisite for peace and security. To the NMFUK he advised the organization to continue in its bid to support the people back home in various ways with even further commitment.
Outcome
In view of the main objectives of the conference, the above presentations and further discussions during the event the following deductions are made:
1. It is the general consensus of the presenters that poverty is a major factor in the crises/conflict plaguing Northern Nigeria today
2. Poverty has affected the society with such depth that people react in sometimes very unpredictable, unreasonable manners
3. People resort to violence, which often dominates such reactions, in order to both serve as deterrence and ensure they get justice
4. Poverty could be blamed mainly on bad leadership, corruption and a culture of extravagance
5. People’s attitude (society, culture) also aggravates poverty
6. Injustice combines with poverty to precipitate or fuel violence and insecurity
7. To tackle insecurity in the region there must be serious, sincere and deliberate efforts to, at least, significantly reduce poverty
8. Justice must also be dispensed to all irrespective of gender, tribe/ethnicity or creed etc
9. Governments at all levels, social and religious institutions and members of the society must contribute their bits in ensuring fairness and social cohesion
10. Nigerians, at home or in the Diaspora, in or out of leadership positions are expected to continue to play vital roles in ensuring all the above ideals are not only promoted but seen to be established through mass campaigns and reorientations
11. Good governance in Nigeria is a prerequisite for dealing with all the problems highlighted

Communiqué Drafting Committee:
Aliyu Musa
Suleiman Baba



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