Alhaji Ya’u Bala PJ is a philanthropist, peace advocate. In this interview with MUHAMMAD TANKO SHITTU, he says people should regard peace and peaceful co-existence as their single religion and tribe.
You are a philanthropist. What attracted you towards that direction?
I have been a young man with windows of opportunities. As I reflected, I asked myself what I could do that would pleases Allah and make me useful to the society. You know the youths constitute a large percentage in the society, so also women. That made me to get into rendering little support, hoping that it would add values to their lives.
Despite your efforts, there seems to rising youth restiveness. Is it that you are not doing enough?
Yes, it is indeed a great cause for concern that youths are increasingly involving themselves in one form of crime and another. People like us are really worried, but I think what we are doing alone would not help; our parents have the greatest share of work to do first on the path of morality including inculcating the right moral values in them. Secondly, the need for their educational training and the rest. Should most parents play their roles properly, a greater percentage of the problems would be solved, while the society and government would be left to take care of the rest of the situation. But in the circumstance where parents are not discharging their onerous responsibilities, we cannot get things right.
What do you think are the major causes of youths involvements in vices?
Idleness, if you may permit me to use this word. Joblessness is one of the major factors out of many others. When someone is idle he or she easily becomes vulnerable to joining bad gangs. Intake of illicit drugs is another factor. Until jobs are available, we would continue to have problems. When I said job creation, it does not mean that government alone should be responsible, a lot us can always harness and engage most of these jobless youths. The government itself must strive to create the enablement for small scale businesses to flourish, factories that were shutdown should be made to bounce back while our elites that have invested almost all their capital should also endeavour to come back home and invest. Farming is an all-encompassing business hub that I will like our people to explore.
As a farmer, what are the prospects?
As a happy farmer, I would say food is essential to all living things and this is only possible through farming. When we say farming, it does not only implies cultivating the soil to get edibles, but livestock farming. Today, youths are gradually understanding the value chain in agriculture and are keying into it. There are lots of school graduates that have realised that waiting for government work to be paid after 30 days is not even a worthy venture because they have enjoyed the benefits in agriculture. All that government needs to do is to continue to explore easier means that would make farming implements, fertilizer and seedlings accessible and affordable to all famers.
Plateau state particularly Jos had fared peacefully, unfortunately lives and property are being destroyed in the hinterland. What is your thought on this?
It is indeed worrisome and I deeply condemn the killings of many innocent souls. It is also unfortunate that youths are the foot soldiers in all of this. It is very painful and unfortunate that the youths are again found in the front burner of igniting violence. I think the best thing for us is to be seen in the forefronts of advancing the course of peaceful co-existence, devoid of any sentiment. The world is laughing at us and I must use this opportunity to admonish youths to eschew any temptation that would further advance violence that would consume all of us. Crisis is not what we want; we must be seen using our precious times in innovating things that would help us become gainfully employed. The best ways for every adherent of religious belief is to showcase good manners irrespective of divergent beliefs. To me, the right way is for all of us to take or regard peace as our single religion and tribe because Islam and Christianity preach peace which we should embrace if really we are good Muslims or Christians. More disturbing is the manner at which some so- called religious and community leaders are fanning the embers of hatreds, calling on their followers to pick up arms and kill those that are not members of their faiths. Our politicians should also desist from promoting divisions among us; they should remind themselves that Allah is the watch of all of our deeds and misdeed.