Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, has described Nigeria as the most influential country in the global poverty ranking, in spite of its huge economic potentials in the African sub-region.
He made the disclosure at the opening of an International Conference on Boko Haram and the Phenomenon of Insurgency in Nigeria.
The event, organised by the Centre of Islamic Civilisation and Inter-faith Dialogue, Bayero University Kano, held at the Coronation Hall, Kano Government House yesterday.
He said, Nigeria, being a sovereign entity, had been traumatised, pillaged and crudely devastated by the past colonial hangover and the insatiable desire of the nation’s colonial master to foster neo-colonialism.
According to him, the degree of penury, misery and abject poverty bedeviling the nation had been a major precursor to the rising spate of insurgency and the deadly exploits of the Boko Haram elements, which he said, had inflicted a serious havoc on the nation.
He further said, with the grueling poverty taking a disastrous toll on the nation, the gap between the elitist class and the poor had greatly widened, and instilled a feeling of gross marginalisation in the minds of the downtrodden masses.
The monarch, however, stated that the spectra of insurgency and endless Boko Haram warfare could only be tackled on the basis of dealing with narratives which had tended to make the insurgency assuming dangerous dimension.
The menace could only be nipped in the bud when such narratives were clearly understood and comprehended, stressing that the areas ravaged by insurgency must be assisted with the means to earn a decent living.
He also pointed out that the issue of demographic explosion is currently threatening the peace and tranquility of the nation in the next twenty years, with Nigeria’s youth’s population likely to stand at 100 million.
The implication of such a surging population mired in poverty, he said, would be greater than what obtained in the era of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The trained economist further contended that there was the compelling need for the federal
government to take steps to regulate the activities of some Islamic clerics who often preached the gospel of violence by way of lending credence to the despicable concept of Islamic extremism which lacked legitimacy in Islam.
According to him, violent extremism would remain with the nation if such misguided preachers were not called to order.
He further posited that Nigeria as a sovereign nation which gained independence and got freed from colonial bondage, was being haunted by post-colonial mindset, forgetting the fact that the colonial education policy introduced by Great Britain had been a process of colonial subterfuge aimed at stalling the rising popularity of Islamic religion and the promotion of Christian evangelism.
He said: “I can’t imagine why the English language is being promoted today in the academia. What is most disheartening is the way and manner English is much revered and considered above any other language. Our children have been inundated with the craze to pass English language after leaving secondary and colleges for them to gain admission into the University.
“Take the example of China, India Malaysia, Russia and other nations that had attained the height of greatness in the parlance of leadership and economy. They had gotten to such a marvellous stage without using English language as their lingual franca. In Nigeria today, we are still obsessed with the business of embracing English as a potent weapon to develop. How stupid are we in promoting English above any other language?” the monarch queried.
The trained banker also insisted that unless the issues of gruelling poverty, misery and all forms of economic deprivation were properly addressed, the issue of fighting insurgency and the Boko Haram phenomenon would only stop at the level of rhetoric, stressing however that no one would ever be safe as millions of youths wallow in hunger, abject poverty and squalor.