Coalition passes confidence vote on NBAIS leadership, asks FG to support agency

A coalition, the Concerned Northern Forum (CNF), has urged the Federal Government to look into the many challenges of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) in the area of staffing, mobility and the procurement of furniture and comfortable office accommodations throughout the country.

Adressing a press conference in Kaduna on Tuesday, spokesperson of the CNF,Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem said, so far, the NBAIS has offices in 26 States of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said bearing in mind the enormous work currently ongoing at NBAIS, “it has become necessary for us to call on well meaning Nigerians especially members of the Civil Society, religious and political leaders across the country and northern Nigeria in particular to come to the aid of this all important Board bearing in mind its enormous importance to our country.”

The group said Registrar/CEO of NBAIS, Professor Mohammed Shafi’u “deserves our  support. He’s the best for the job and has demonstrated beyond doubt that he has all it takes to reposition the Board and bring glory to the country. Education as Nelson Mandela once said is the only tool we can use to change the world, hence, no sacrifice is too much for the development of education because a sound education translates to the development of a nation. At a time like this that Nigeria is determined to reform the Almajiri system of education, all hands must be on deck to make it a success.”

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.”

“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.”

Spokesperson of the CNF,Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem, addresses a press conference in KAduna

“NBAIS is an Examination Board similar to National Business and  Technical Examination Board (NABTEB)  and National Examination Council (NECO) 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 (NCE), 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.”

“It is important to note that the Board is also mandated to conduct examinations, not only in Arabic and Islamic Studies but also in Arts and Science subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Agric, Geography, Languages, religious studies, history and vocational subjects some of which are taught in Arabic.

“This is a very big opportunity for our region and the entire educational system as it offers yet another option for taking the Senior Arabic & Islamic Studies secondary school Certificate Examination (SAISSCE). The importance of this to our region which is academically lacking behind cannot be over emphasized. A support for this budding institution is therefore a support to progressive Northern Nigeria.”

“Aside the difficulty that comes with understanding the Sunnah since it’s officially written in Arabic, an in-depth understanding of Arabic language is crucial not just for the scholars but all the Muslim Ummah all over the country.

“This will help correct some blasphemous interpretations of the Qur’an and the controversies that it generates.  With Islam as the fastest growing religion in the world and the Arabic language becoming an international language and one of the UN official languages, the need for Nigeria to pay more attention to NBAIS which promotes the teaching and learning of Arabic has become sacrosanct.”

“Already, the UNESCO during it’s 190th Executive Board Session adopted a decision to celebrate 18th December of every year as World Arabic Language Day. A day set aside for the promotion multilingualism and cultural diversity, as well as the role played by the Arabic language in safeguarding and dissemination of human civilization and culture.”

“The decision by UNESCO  recognises the need to implement more wide-ranging cooperation between people through multilingualism, cultural rapprochement and dialogue among civilisations. This is more pertinent in Nigeria where our cultural diversity has often been a source of disunity than unity, where our religious differences are often exploited negatively by selfish persons especially during elections.

“A sound knowledge and understanding of Arabic will curtail these misunderstanding and create a cordial and beneficial relationship especially between adherents of Islam and other religions. Islam is a religion of peace and it is the duties of specialized agencies like NBAIS to promote and encourage sound scholarship and understanding of the religion.”

“In view of the enormous importance of NBAIS to the generality of Nigerians, CNF has in recent times monitored with keen interest the activities of NBAIS, superintendent by the erudite Professor Mohammad Shafi’u Abdullahi, whose leadership acumen has taken the Board to lofty heights. His leadership disposition has placed the Board above others as the best performing agency of government as attested by the education stakeholders.

“Since its establishment in 1960, NBAIS has never had it so good in terms of leadership and administration. The open door policy of Prof. Shafi’u Mohamed Abdullahi has made it possible for every staff to have a say in the affairs of the Board. That is team work at it’s peak, this not just commendable but worthy of emulation.”

“Following the recent successful conduct of the first NBAIS national examination and the establishment of the Centre for Tsangaya and General Studies of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS), accolades and recommendations have been pouring in from across the entire country. Those who did not believe in the vision and mission of the amiable Registrar have had a change of heart. We at CNF are proud of the Board and the management for delivering on one of the very key mandates.”

“The Tsangaya Centre will be a training and retraining Centre of Excellence for teachers and tutors of Tsangaya education all over the country.  It combines conventional schooling with skill acquisition and entrepreneurship education. This innovative agenda informed by the need to equip and empower Nigerian youths in a bid to taking them off the streets especially amongst children from economically disadvantaged homes, who often end up as destitutes in the guise of acquiring Arabic and Islamic education.”

”This is a legacy of Prof. Shafi’u Mohammad Abdullahi and his team. History will forever be kind to him for his revolutionary strides and  noble innovation as he strives to reposition the Board for greater national productivity. It willnot be out of place to honour him in this year National Productivity and Honours Award.”

“In celebrating his numerous achievements and patriotic dedication to duty for the service of our dear country, we unanimously pass a strong vote of confidence on the Registra/CEO, Directors, staff of NBAIS and Federal Ministry of Education under the amiable leadership of Malllam Adamu Adamu for seamlessly working as a team to deliver on a mandate that took more than 50 years to achieve. The level of infrastructural development currently ongoing at the National Headquarters and all Zonal offices of the Board, even with resources allocated to the Board can best be described as astute prudence and accountability.”

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