Begging Not Part Of Islamic Culture -Wakili | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Arewa, Metro, Region

Begging Not Part Of Islamic Culture -Wakili

Posted: Jul 6, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Senator Ali Wakili represents Bauchi South in National Assembly. In this interview with journalists, including Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu, in Bauchi, he speaks on the recent fracas in the National Assembly over leadership position and his plan to empower the people of his constituency through animal husbandry, among other issues. Excerpts:



How do you feel on the recent fracas in the National Assembly over leadership positions?

There is no fracas; I have said it before that there is no fracas, when you have an equal people with an equal variety, when you have different people with different ideas, different people with different attitudes, different psychologies, they are bound to disagree but at the end we have to agree. Some of these issues are being over blown by some people that dish out propaganda according to their own dictates but all of those things are not realistic because some of them are tissues that are unimaginable.

President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to appoint ministers and some Nigerians are already criticising him over that; what is your take?

The President has spoken about his ministers, so who is going to contradict him again, he has said what he wanted to say and everybody heard him. What he said is very loud and clear.

What did he say?

You people reported it, so you should go back and cross check.

You paid a visit recently to the family of the boy that was killed during the general election. Why are you paying a visit to the family the second time?

It’s very normal. This boy was a very young man that was very enterprising and he was a helping hand to the father. If you look at the father he is getting old and his only means of livelihood is repairing of bicycles and these days how many people have bicycles to repair that will enable them earn a living? And part of my campaign promises is to ensure that people are empowered even at lowest level so that they can stay on their own.

I grew up in a rural area and I know that everybody in my community has local poultry; up till today if you go to each and every house you will see people operating local poultry, you will see them engaging in animal husbandry and animals are special species that in good time they can procreate and multiply and I feel if you will have a means to do that one at least in each and every three months, you will have something to earn a living. So if they agree to do what I advise them to do, that is to engage in animal husbandry; so that is why I paid a visit to the house and to symphatise with them, condole with them, especially at this period, may be if the boy had being alive, he would have been the one to go and look for the cloth that the parents will have to wear on the Sallah day.

The mother of the boy was overwhelmed by your visit that she was shedding tears; how do you feel?

I did not want to go there and remind her of the death of her precious son but I had to do it; normally in that kind of situation you may lose your composure and have to behave that way but it’s part of human behaviour.

What encourages you to visit the parents?

As I said the father is a bicycle repairer. So we just have to support the family on how he can mange what he does and have another means of feeding for the family.

There are a lot of poverty and unemployment at the grassroots, and encouraging people to go into animal husbandry would go a long way to alleviate poverty. Do you have plans to extend this to your constituency?

Part of the problem I had and part of the problem I will have is that I have promised myself that I will not encourage indolence. You don’t walk into my house and beg money. I don’t want to be preemptive of what I intend to do or what I want to do. I will wait until when the remuneration of the Senators are determined and their allowances and other things and I will definitely come out with a programme for those of them that are very serious, those of them that are in want, most especially women in purdah.

I intend to come out with a programme to encourage women in purdah to go into animal husbandry and poultry. By the grace of God that is part of our programme, we have to empower them. I have told you from the rural community I came, no one goes out to beg but they work to assist the family through this kind of husbandry and poultry.

How can you ensure that begging is drastically reduced because it seems to be one of the challenges in the North?

That is a bad culture that is unIslamic, it’s very unIslamic. The Holy Prophet Mohammed opposed begging, it’s not part of Islamic culture but it’s unfortunate that issue of begging is always associated to Islam. It’s unIslamic and not part of Islamic culture or tradition but people have become beggars out of their own choice.

I met a man a year ago around Mobil petrol station; when I saw  his face it invoked the resemblance of my mother, so I called him and said how could a Fulani man like you descend to the lowest level of begging, because it’s not part of any Fulani man tradition to behave that way? We later struck a deal and I came back to him and did my own part of the deal with the hope that he is not going to beg again, only for him to resurface in my house again because he just met me on the street, he does not even know whom I am, so you can see it has become part of people that are very lazy, very unIslamic. Begging is something that I hate, as somebody who came from the North, as an Hausa Fulani man, as a Muslim when I was in Lagos I hated myself because my brothers from the other part of the world whenever I say my name is Mallam Ali Wakili, they will just look at me with contempt that this beggar again. So we have bastardised that issue of begging that it has become a way of life, that people use it to abuse our sensibility and tradition. I don’t like it, Islam doesn’t like it and I cannot encourage it.

You distributed food items and clothing to the people in your constituency for Ramadan. What is the cost of these items?

The distribution exercise is a continuous process. I have indigent women and youth to distribute items to apart from Jumai mosques as well as other individuals that in one way or the other we have been relating with. So it’s not something that we can quantify, it’s just a gesture for the people.