A group, the Concerned Northern Forum, on Tuesday, called for the speedy passage of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies bill before the National Assembly for the propagation of Islamic education in the country.
This, the group comprising 73 civil society organizations in the 19 Northern states and Abuja, said would enable the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd) to assent the bill into law before the expiration of his tenure in May 29, 2023.
Besides, the group also appealed to consider increasing budgetary allocations to the board to enable it function well like other educational board in the land.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna on Tuesday, Spokesman of the forum, Abdulsalam Kazeem, said the speedy passage of the NBAIS Bill became imperative in view of the importance of the board to Islamic education in the north.
According to him, concrete efforts in harmonising and giving directions to the study of Arabic and Islam in the region came with the birth of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies.
He said, “We are a coalition of over 73 Civil Society Organizations domiciled in Northern Nigeria, poised with the task of advocating, promoting and defending the interest and values of the people of the North.
“As you’re all aware, the religion of Islam as propagated to us by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is dear to our hearts and the Qur’an revealed words of Allah (SWT).
“While the Ummah in Northern Nigeria have made giant strides in Islamic scholarship, such efforts were mostly in the hands of Islamic scholars who took personal efforts to learn and pass the message across.
“Few universities also took up courses in Arabic and Islamic studies which is commendable. However, concrete efforts in harmonising and giving directions to the study of Arabic and Islam came with the birth of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS).
“This noble board which is central to the propagation of the authentic message of Islam is ably headed by Prof. Shafi’u Mohammed Abdullahi, a seasoned Islamic scholar and administrator per excellence.”
He added, “Important as this board is to the entire northern region and Nigeria at large, there are challenges confronting it including unwarranted and provocative attacks on the Registrar/CEO and management of the board by self serving members of the public.
“NBAIS is an examination board similar to National Business and Technical Examination Board and National Examination Council but with a unique and sacred mandate.
“The Board is tasked with the planning and implementing Arabic and Islamic studies curriculum and examination in Nigeria. Established in 1960 shortly after independence, it became a department in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with activities mainly in the Northern part of Nigeria.
“With the recognition and approval of National Council on Education, the board was mandated to serve as a national examination Board for over over 900 recognized Arabic and Islamic schools and colleges all over the country.
“While acknowledging the enormous efforts made in the passage of the the third reading of the bill so as to present the bill before the president for assent. In calling for the speedy passage of the bill, we equally call on the National Assembly to increase budgetary allocations to NBAIS to enable it function well.”
The group also commended the management of the NAIBS under the leadership of Prof. Shafi’u Mohammed Abdullahi, a seasoned Islamic scholar, for repositioning the board to greater heights, adding that “his leadership disposition has placed the Board above others as the best performing agency of government as attested by the education stakeholders.”