The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has advised wealthy Muslims and other donor agencies to establish a foundation to promote girl-child education especially in the Northern part of the country, instead of building Mosques.
He made the call while delivering a Keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Third International Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance held in Kano on Thursday.
According to him, educating the girl-child would go a long way in producing educated mothers in the region.
“It is important to reduce the rate of maternal death and it is only through educating the girl-child the ugly trend can be reversed.”
He said as part of effort to address the issue, the emirate council had set up three committees with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
He said one of the committees had been saddled with the responsibility of coming up with education matters while the others are responsible for family and foundation issues.
“The three committees are interrelated as they will address a number of issues bordering on early marriage, education of the girl-child as well as other related matters.”
“If you want to help the poor, establish schools for them, or provide health institutions or empowerment in terms of providing job opportunities. But don’t come to me to say you want to build Mosque because we have them everywhere.”
“So, my appeal is that if you really want to help Kano, don’t come to me with a request to build a N300m mosque because I have enough mosques everywhere. And if I don’t have a mosque, I’ll build it myself. If you really want to help, go and educate a girl child in the village.”
He said very soon it would be an offence for parents to remove their girl-child from school or marry them off before the age of 18.
“Nobody has ever been arrested for taking his daughter out of school. Kano has not lost its identity but we will soon lose it if we are not educated,” he added.
Sanusi also called for a review of laws to prevent early marriage and encourage girl child education.
“It is not a mere coincidence that this is where you have the highest levels of illiteracy, early marriage, divorce and the highest levels of domestic violence…
People need to understand that the law has to change. If you look at the medical data on maternal health, girls who get pregnant below the age of 15 are five times as likely to die as girls who get pregnant at the age of 20. Those who get pregnant under 18 are twice as likely to die as those who get pregnant at the age of 20. So, it is important that we look at this issue of early marriage,” the monarch said.
Also, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar said the state government attached great importance to girl-child education hence its decision to introduce summer camp for primary school pupils and Junior secondary school female students.
He said since the introduction of the programme, no fewer than 10,863 students benefited from the programme in the state.