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Dr. Ahmad Bamba:The Lost Of An African Scholar-Jibia

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Abdussamad Ahmad Jibia

It was a Friday, specifically the seventh of January 2022 in the official salary calendar of Nigeria. Even if you are not Gregorian in your personal timings once you are a salary worker in Nigeria you cannot afford to ignore the Gregorian calendar. Even Islamic schools use it to pay their workers. Traders are always conscious of it because their sales are higher at the end of the month. Employers feel relieved when they are able to pay their staff before or on the last day of a Gregorian month. Nigerian politicians list payment of monthly salaries as one of their achievements.

But this piece is not about salary payment or the Gregorian calendar.

In one of the Whatsapp groups I belong, someone had just posted that Dr. Ahmad Bamba was dead. Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim was, until sometime in the late 1990s, a tenure staff of the Department of Islamic Studies Bayero University Kano. After some misunderstandings with the then administration of Bayero University Kano, which he narrated when he was alive, he voluntarily withdrew his services from the university only to be to be reabsorbed, voluntarily retire and reabsorbed many years later when Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed assumed the Vice Chancellorship of the University.

Before I could react to the news of Sheikh Ahmad BUK as many people called him, I must verify its correctness. In 2020, I went to the extent of calling the Deputy National Chairman of the Izala group to condole him about the death of Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau announced by an online newspaper and it turned out to be a fake news. Before he died, fake news reporters had once killed Alhaji Bashir Tofa, the erstwhile Presidential candidate of the defunct NRC and publisher of the first Nigerian Islamic newspaper, The Pen. Much earlier, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe was killed many times before his death, even without social media at that time. With all these in my mind, I decided to verify, and I thought the best person to ask was my neighbor and one the most senior students of the Sheikh, Professor Ahmad Murtala. After the confirmation, I began to pray for Dr. Ahmad.

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I do not personally know any of Dr. Ahmad’s children except for one of his daughters who is a classmate and a close friend of one of my two wives. But my wife was in Bauchi for the marriage ceremony of a cousin in her mother’s family. So she could only immediately phone. Of course, she visited Insaaf Bamba after her return. As for me, the best thing I could do was to pray. As an ordinary person, I have always avoided gatherings of people who matter in the society. Allah answers prayers from whichever location and even from ordinary people like me. So, in sha Allah we shall continue to pray for Islamic scholars like Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim. Of course, the best way to remember a scholar is first, to practice the message he propagated and to continue to spread his teachings. The Messenger of Allah (May blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) listed a knowledge taught by a Muslim as one of the acts of virtue that continue to fetch them rewards after their death as long as the knowledge continues to be practiced.

But who is Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim?

Baby Ahmad was born in 1940 in Kumasi, Ghana to a migrant family of Islamic scholars. Migration from Northern Nigeria to Ghana is age long and Dr. Ahmad’s family is one of those Nigerian families who migrated to join the Hausa community of Ghana. The child of Fatima and Muhammad began his early Islamic education from home and at the age of 14 he was taken to a tailor to learn the art of making clothes while still attending his Islamic lessons.

The turning point in Sheikh Ahmad’s life came with his journey to Saudi Arabia to study. I heard him confess several times that before he made it to Madina where he met world class Islamic scholars he had begun to see himself as a leading Islamic scholar. That was understandable given the environment in which Sheikh Ahmad was brought up. However, according to him when he arrived Madinah he was reduced to a beginner struggling to learn.

And he learnt well. Soon after collecting his letter of admission and registering as an undergraduate in the prestigious International Islamic University of Medina, Ahmad Bamba excelled to become one of the best students of Hadith. That was the time when the University was headed by the famous Sheikh AbdulAzeez Bn Baaz, and had lecturers like Sheikh Hammad Al-Ansariy. These are some of the best Islamic scholars of their generation and it is a pride for any student of Islam to come in contact with them even if they didn’t teach him. They directly taught Sheikh Ahmad.

Ahmad’s scholastic aptitude earned him a good degree in Hadith before he left the Prophetic city of Madina. He assumed duty as a lecturer in the well respected Department of Islamic studies of Bayero University in 1981.

For the first one decade of his sojourn in Bayero University, the people who mostly benefitted from his vast knowledge of Islam were the students of his Department. For the rest of us in other faculties of the same University, we only heard about him when we discussed with his students. This is not to say that other people did not discover him early enough. In addition to teaching at the Aminuddeen’s Da’wah Islamiyya School many people, including some influential businessmen, privately visited the Sheikh’s house for Islamic lessons.

After the death in 1992 of Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gummi who served as the de facto leader of the Salafis in Nigeria, the private students of Sheikh Ahmad Bamba thought that there was the need to raise their not well-known teacher to serve as a replacement. And it worked perfectly well. The first open lessons of Hadith by the Sheikh began at a location provided by one of his students in Gandun Albasa Quarters, Kano.

The lessons in Gandun Albasa did not last long. The promoters of the Hadith lessons thought further that better results could be achieved if the lessons were moved to the University, after all Dr. Ahmad was a staff of the only University in Kano at that time. That is how Dr. Ahmad began his Hadith lessons in the Bayero University Old campus Jumuah mosque. And because the lessons were holding in BUK and Dr. Ahmad was a staff of BUK, he came to be known in many circles as Dr. Ahmad BUK.

As planned by his students and with Allah’s permission, Dr. Ahmad within the blink of an eye became the scholar everyone respected in Northern Nigeria. Many people from all over Kano state and the neighbouring Katsina and Jigawa states made special arrangements to attend his weekly lessons in Kano. Those who could not attend would not miss the cassettes. He was teaching the Nigerian public a knowledge that was hitherto restricted to the circle of select Islamic scholars. He was questioning unIslamic traditions of Sheikh-worshipping. He openly exposed disbeliefs packaged and given to Muslims as Islam. Naturally, this would not go down well with those who benefitted from the status quo; hence the many enemies of Dr. Ahmad.

Younger Sunni scholars accepted Dr. Ahmad as their leader and respected his interventions. For example, he prevailed on the Late Sheikh Ja’afar Adam to rescind his decision to impose niqab as part of the compulsory uniform for girls in Uthman bn Affan College. For those of us who attended various lessons of different Salafi scholars in Kano, we noticed that salient issues raised by Dr. Ahmad were always amplified by other scholars as a mark of respect for the late leader scholar.

Books of Hadith are categorized. The best are the collections of Bukhari and Muslim. Any hadith reported by both scholars is considered as unquestionably authentic. The next set of books are the Sunan. These are the collections of Abu Daud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. The six books put together are known as “The Six Collections (Al Kutubus Sitta)”. The six collections plus the collections of Imam Ahmad (Musnad), Imam Malik (Muwatta) and Imam Addarimiy (Sunan) are known as “The nine collections (Al Kutubut tis’ah)”.

In case you don’t know the level of Dr. Ahmad’s contribution, he is the only African scholar known to have read, translated and interpreted the nine collections to public.

Dr. Ahmad was charismatic. Perharps that was what made many people feared approaching him thinking that he would be too tough to deal with. They were always surprised when the Sheikh received them with smiles and an open mind.

Like the Late Sheikh Abubakar Gummi, Dr. Ahmad was generous. As donations kept coming, he kept giving. This has been attested to by people very close to him. At a point when someone spoke to him about it, he said, “keeping this one will prevent another one from coming”. This is a statement that could only be discerned by a person who understands the saying of Allah, “Whatever you spend (for Allah’s sake), Allah will provide its replacement” (Q34:39)

If your habit is to carry gossip from one point to another, Dr. Ahmad would never welcome you. His time was for teaching and learning. He encouraged productivity and urged youth to be focused until they excelled in the one thing they choose to do in life.

When some people began to question his nationality, Dr. Ahmad stated in his characteristic smile that he had a “productive nationality”. And it is so. After he temporarily withdrew his services from Bayero University in the 1990s Sheikh Ahmad accepted to teach in the Islamic University of Niamey. Soon after, his Nigerian students arranged for him to come back and continue with the work he started. There was a mild rejection, by his Nigerien students. The Nigerians had their way and our neighbours gave up when they understood that more people stood to benefit from his knowledge in Nigeria.

May Allah have mercy on His servant Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim. May He forgive his shortcomings and admit him into the highest level of Firdaus. May Allah give this Ummah more of his kind. Amin.

Professor Abdussamad Umar Jibia is a Public affairs commentator and a University Lecturer.
14/01/2022

Opinion

IPOB: It’s not too late for the South East to fight terrorism

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Misbahu El Hamza

We recently saw how pundits from Northern Nigeria and a few from the South went out of their way to educate Southerners on the Hausa saying “in ka ga gemun ɗanuwanka ya kama da wuta, ka shafa wa naka ruwa,” which translates to “when you see your neighbor’s beard on fire, rub yours with water.”

That is to say, stop laughing about terrorism in the North; it may just as easily end up on your doorstep. Take a look at the Southerners’ reactions and comments every time the Presidency expressed its “shock” over a killing in the North on social media. People laughing and stating “the Mallams [Northerners] should finish themselves abeg (sic),” with a laughing emoji will also surprise you.

IPOB has always struck me as a terrorist organisation. I’m not sure how to classify the daily gruesome killings of innocent people in the South East as anything other than terrorism. You may anticipate “animals” in the “zoo” to chop off the head of their legislator and threaten to chop off even more, but that isn’t the case.

IPOB’s actions in the South East, making “their people” to “sit at home,” forcing children to miss school and the bulk of adults living in poverty to avoid going to the market, is a ticking time bomb for the region. Those who strive to stop it in that region, sadly, pay the price with their lives. There is no need for a judge to pronounce IPOB a terrorist organisation before we acknowledge them as such. Their deeds speak for themselves.

But to be honest, the majority of Nigerians, regardless of their geographical area, require behavioral modification. Southerners weren’t the only ones who applauded terrorism in its early stages, when the attackers were primarily targeting government institutions and personnel. When Boko Haram was simply attacking and destroying police stations and security checkpoints in the north, many Nigerians, unmindfully, praised them.

Well-intentioned Nigerians predicted the outcome and warned us. Some of us began to realize the danger in the Boko Haram campaign when churches, markets, and eventually mosques began to have their share. This is exactly what happened when IPOB went insane a few years ago. In today’s South East, no one is safe, including locals, just as Boko Haram and the “bandits” do not discriminate in their prey.

The good news, however, is that it’s never too late for the good people of the South East to begin praying for an end to terrorism and actively supporting the government’s efforts to combat it. We’ll also pray for God to utilize His great might to put an end to the IPOB terrorists so that we can all live in peace. As peace-loving people from Northern Nigeria, the best we can do is pray for the country, avoid harming others, and convey the truth to all stakeholders in the country.

Misbahu el-Hamza
Kano, Nigeria
May 24, 2022

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Clean Energy Transition In Africa:Five Takeaways From The SPE Lagos Technical Symposium

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Haruna Muhammad

 

The clean energy transition has been a trendy topic from Lagos to Los Angeles, Davos to Darussalam, and Abu-Dhabi down to Aukland. Industry captains and leading state actors champion campaigns and roll out strategic plans to accelerate the clean energy transition. Today, this is not breaking news: leading multinational oil and gas companies have expanded their portfolios to accommodate non-fossil fuels and enable the clean energy transition. For instance, in Paris, on May 28, 2021, Total switched to TotalEnergies. While giving out why Total changed its name to TotalEnergies, the Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne, said, our ambition is to be a world-class player in the energy transition [1].

In Nigeria, in line with the Federal Government’s ‘decade of gas’ initiative, a global leading energy company, Shell, in November 2021, unveiled Shell Energy Nigeria with the sole aim to increase natural gas marketing and sales to meet up with ever-growing energy demands and, of course, accelerate the energy transition in the country and world at large [2]. An article by McKinsey, “The big choices for oil and gas in navigating the energy transition,” provided an insight into how companies are responding to the low-carbon emission transition [3].

Without much rhetoric, one can deduce how the big players in the energy industry are committed to reducing carbon emissions and accelerating the energy transition. This is in line with the UN Paris Agreement 2016, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To fulfill this, all global economy functions must be committed and will be required to reduce emissions in the next ten years (10) years coming.

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While the rest of the world’s continents are rolling out plans to meet up the UN Paris Agreement, the story of energy transition in Africa wears a different systemic symbol. This is because of the continent’s long-term quest to address energy poverty. Stakeholders and business heads are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is a confusing story for Africa because people don’t know where they are transiting to, all courtesy of ravaging poverty, insecurity, and energy crisis. For Africa, energy transition is a story on papers, while the reality of the situation is near unattainable.

The SPE Lagos Technical Symposium, on the other hand, provided an intellectual discourse to bring together energy professionals and stakeholders to discuss energy transition. In Africa, Nigeria is known for notorious gas flaring. Nigeria joins nine other countries that account for 75% of the global gas flaring, as stated by the World Bank during the Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report 2022 published on the bank’s website [4]. Thankfully, the stakeholders are taking impressive actions to address that to save the planet from the dangers of climate injustice.

The symposium, graced by seasoned oil and gas professionals, was held on the 18th and 19th May 2022 in hybrid formation. Based on over two (2) hours long panel discussions of Africa’s energy transition, here are the five takeaways from the panelists:

1. Hon. N.J. Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber
Mr. Ayuk, a strong advocate for African entrepreneurship and the indigenous energy sector, spoke passionately about Africa’s possible ways to the energy transition. From the way he started the conversation, you would be amazed by his depth of knowledge and experience. He said: You cannot decarbonize something that is not even carbonized. Mr. Ayuk centered his argument on the need for strong financial institutions and funding within to drive changes in the African energy sector. In his closing remarks, he added that stakeholders should look inwards and invest in gas because it is the future. He also called for a change of policies and more gas to power projects that will create jobs and address climate injustice in the African region. Africa should be on the supply side of the global economy not otherwise, he noted.

2. Victor Bandele, Deputy Manager, Deep Water Assets, TotalEnergies, Nigeria
Mr. Victor, an industry leader, intelligently talked about challenges in the policy framework in Nigeria and how oil and gas wells are being mismanaged. Riding on that point, he added that, in the early days of oil and gas exploration, most gas wells were left untapped by only focusing on oil-major wells. This act of mismanagement is hunting the energy sector in some countries in Africa. He said we need to deliberate on what we want to do. Africa should champion big projects that will attract investors. The seasoned professional further highlighted the need to expand energy access in Africa via exploring gas wells and solidifying transformational agendas by the stakeholders in what he termed a balanced approach. To achieve this, gas infrastructure will network across the African region, which will be utilized for domestic purposes. He also noted that you could not build on the future energy unless you’ve initial energy. The only way to reduce carbon footprint in Africa is by significantly drilling more gas wells over oil wells. This way, he exclaimed that Africa’s quest for ending energy poverty is attainable.

3. Mr. Kamel Ben – Naceur, the President, Society of Petroleum Engineers International
Mr. Kamel, as an international authority, spoke about SPE’s goals to complement the sustainable development goals of the UN by pointing out that energy transition policies vary from developed economies to developing economies. Moreover, Kamel talked about the SPEi’s plan to collaborate with sister organizations to create a CO2 Assessment tool for CO2 storage. Despite experiencing low investment in six years due to sensitivity of the global market concerning the political events, he said, the oil and gas industry has now witnessed a significant increment in investment by 20%. Finally, Mr. Kamel admitted that Africa has a vital role to play when it comes to the energy transition.

4. Proscovia NABBANJA, Chief Executive Office, Ugandan National Oil Company
The CEO shared her country’s mission to explore opportunities and investments in the Ugandan energy sector. Through strategic project planning, the government has attracted suitable investments. Mrs. Proscovia further discussed the country’s goals in exploring opportunities in non-fossil fuels.

5. Cany Jobe, Director of Exploration, Gambia National Oil Company
Cany Jobe, who carries over 14 years of work in energy projects in West Africa, shared her views on balancing the energy mix. She spoke passionately about Africa should drive her energy transition framework. She rhetorically asked, what we are transitioning from (?). The discussion should be around solving energy poverty in Africa rather than energy transition. In her final remarks, she said that Africa’s energy sector faces financial constraints, and it is not feasible to achieve energy transition without optimizing energy production. If you haven’t gone through it (energy poverty), she said you have no right to talk about it.

In Africa, energy poverty reigns. This is the only continent of the world with a massive gap between modern energy access in the rural and urban areas. According to a report [5], “A clean energy revolution in sub-Saharan Africa is urgently needed to win the fight against energy poverty. Clean energy provides a golden thread to deliver on the promise of Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement”.

While the Sub-Saharan African region becomes a hub of energy poverty, efforts are underway by both states and federal governments at different levels to address the problem. In all, relevant stakeholders must work extra-hard towards addressing the energy crisis because there is ample opportunity in solar and power, which are cheaper than coal in some countries. This will generate more job opportunities and accelerate the energy transition.

Written by Haruna Inuwa, Energy Professional from Lagos state, Nigeria.

Reference
[1] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/09/total-nigeria-plc-changes-name-to-totalenergies-marketing-nigeria-plc-official/#:~:text=Energy%20transition%3A%20Total%20changes%20name,five%20in%20renewables%20by%202030.

[2] https://www.shell.com.ng/media/2021-media-releases/shell-unveils-shell-energy-business-in-nigeria.html

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/oil-and-gas/our-insights/the-big-choices-for-oil-and-gas-in-navigating-the-energy-transition#:~:text=The%20primary%20technologies%E2%80%94renewable%20power,all%20represent%20potential%20growth%20markets.

[4] https://punchng.com/nigeria-nine-others-account-for-75-global-gas-flaring-world-bank/

[5] https://www.oecd.org/environment/cc/climate-futures/Achieving-clean-energy-access-Sub-Saharan-Africa.pdf

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What Would Prof Hafiz Abubakar Do With An Uncivilized Society?

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Professor Hafizu Abubakar Former Deputy Governor

 

By Ibrahim Abdulganiyu Surajo

To start with; On May 14, 2022 Daily Nigerian reported that Mr Hafiz Abubakar a Professor of nutrition, while delivering a public lecture in Kano stated and I quote “In a civilized society, Gawuna and Garo should be in prison”. This literally means an insult to the entire people of Kano by indirectly describing them as “Uncivilized” people. On the above, I wish to call on the Professor of nutrition to as a matter of urgency tender an unreserved apology to the entire people of Kano. I will further quote “I take the example of Kano today. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, today in Kano, we have billboards which are celebrating those people that led to the inconclusive election of 2019, whose video is nationally and internationally available, showing the two of them, going to the polling station to disrupt and steal votes”.

 

On the above allegations mated on Gawuna and Garo I will like to add and clarify that, the duo went there upon receipt of a report over some suspected activities that may not favor them. Whereas some elements took the advantage of social media sending all sorts of negativities. Additionally, Professor of nutrition may wish to note that; Kano people are civil and leaving in a civilized society (Kano). Hence the reason why after your party petitioned against the labelled allegations you made against the party of Gawuna and Garo to the Commission , a civilized Professor answered and corrected your party claims as quoted below:

“I write to acknowledge receipt of your petition on the above subject matter. I also wish to inform you that the Commission received reports from the Gama Registration Area Collation Officer and Nasarawa Local Government Collation Officer to the effect that Collation process at the Local Government was disrupted at the Nasarawa Local Government Area Collation Centre for Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.The following observations were made in respect of your submission:

You cited that the Gama Registration Area (RA) has 88 Polling Units, whereas, it has 62 Polling Units and 26 Voting Points.The attached Annexure ‘A’ which you titled “Summary of Statement of Results of Poll From Polling Unit Election to the Office of Governor Kano State (FORM EC8A)” showing votes scored by PDP and APC contains 77 entries NOT 62 and 18 of the entries carry the serial numbers of result sheets for voting points (see serial nos. 8, 9, 16, 17,18, 19, 20, 23, 28, 38, 45, 50, 51, 54, 57, 60, 66, 71 and 76) while the remaining 59 entries carry serial numbers of result sheets for polling units. Please note that Voting Points cannot stand alone as Polling Units.The Annexure ‘B’ which you titled “Copies of the Polling Units of Gama Registration Area result sheets” contains seventy (70) pages and not seventy seven (77). Also the manually paginated sheets of the EC8A and EC8A (VP), have no pages 13, 32, 33, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 75. Page 61 was misplaced in the sequential arrangement. Three other attachments were not paginated.

The result sheets for voting points (EC8A (VP)) are pages 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 28, 38, 50, 51, 54, 57, 60, 66, 71 and 76. Please also note that the result sheet EC8A (VP) with number 0011188 paged as 51 was attached twice and the duplicated copy is among those not paginated.This means a total sixty nine (69) different result sheets were attached as Annexure B out of which Eighteen (18) are for voting points. So in total, you have attached fifty two (52) result sheets for polling units instead of sixty two (62). Also note that entry with serial no. 45 in Annexure A with form number 0011179 is for voting point and is among those not attached in Annexure B.You erroneously computed the results of voting points together with those of polling units in arriving at the scores you recorded for both PDP and APC in your Annexure A.This amounts to duplication because the results from such Voting Points had earlier been transferred to mother Polling Units during Collation at Polling Unit level.The Commission is not in receipt of any document validly signed to establish the veracity of your claim on the result of Gubernatorial or State Assembly election for GAMA RA.The Ward Collation Officer for GAMA RA, in his report acknowledged the receipt of EC8A from all Presiding Officers and had completed EC8B for presentation at the LGA Collation Center before the crisis that erupted at the Collation Center. These were the primary and secondary sources for regenerating results but were lost in the unfortunate incident. Also, please note, that security personnel do not “endorse” any election result to make it valid.From the report of the Nasarawa Local Government Collation Officer, the Gama Ward Collation Officer began presentation of the results he collated at the ward level but was stopped and instructed to go and reconcile the figures which could not tally. In addition, he was asked to write the names of all the Polling Units on the EC8B instead of the codes alone.Twice he had to be sent back because the figures did not tally.This reconciliation took over 18 hours without reaching a conclusion due to disagreement on the entries made on the EC8B between the Agents of Political Parties.The LGA Collation Center was attacked and vandalized before the process was completed.In line with the provision of Regulations and Guideline for the conduct of Elections, Schedule I (6&7), the Commission regenerated the results for 10 other wards from Forms EC8A and EC8B that were under its custody. In respect of Gama RA, collation at the LGA was not concluded and the original copies of EC8A and EC8B could not be obtained because all the results were lost in the fracas. Please also be informed that the position of the Commission is very clear in respect of recounting of Ballot Papers. It can only be carried out once at the Polling Unit level on request from any party agent.That the documents submitted by you as Annexures A and B cannot be used to regenerate the ‘results of Gama RA because of the discrepancies observed and pointed out.That the reference and comparison of the Commission’s decision in respect of Bauchi Governorship election is not tenable because they have entirely different scenarios.That the ‘Margin of Lead’ in Ogun as cited in your final prayer is not comparable to the situation in Kano.The Commission wishes to state emphatically that a supplementary election In Gama Registration Area alongside other Registration Areas and Polling Units where cancellations were made due to violence and over-voting in the state remains the only viable option for the Commission to conclude the process of conducting gubernatorial election in Kano State”.

Finally, arriving from the above corrections made by a civilized Professor against the claims or allegations made against Gawuna and Garo by a Professor of nutrition; and the thinking to challenge the verdict of a Court of competent jurisdiction, vis a vis insulting Kano people by calling us uncivilized society, I wonder to know who supposed be in prison. A professor should always speak from the intellectual perspective and with integrity. Thank you and may God bless our Kano.

Ibrahim Abdulganiyu Surajo, writes from Tukuntawa,Kano State

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