Protecting the Children's Right to Basic Education and Health in Northern Nigeria: Exploring Institutionalisation of Zakat and Waqf as viable option

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Information about Protecting the Children's Right to Basic Education and Health in...

Published on June 3, 2016

Author: MuhammadKamaldeenIma

Source: slideshare.net

1. Abdulraheem, Taofeeq Abolaji ----------------------------------------------- Ahmad, Hussein Folorunsho ----------------------------------------------- Imam-Tamim, Muhammad Kamaldeen PROTECTING THE CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO BASIC EDUCATION AND HEALTH IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: EXPLORING INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF ZAKAT AND WAQF AS A VIABLE OPTION

2.  Nigeria is a Muslim dominated country and the northern Nigeria contains the majority of the Muslim population.  Nigeria operates a plural legal system derived from Shari’ah, Common Law of England and Customary Law.  Nigeria, like other states, has undertaken to be a welfare state and recognises the socio-economic rights of the citizens.  Some of the rights recognised under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution include Child Rights, right to health and right to education. INTRODUCTION

3.  Both international law and Shari’ah recognise that provision of access to education and adequate health facilities are among the foremost responsibilities of a government.  Yet, the northern region of Nigeria, has the highest rates of out-of-school children and child mortality among the regions in Nigeria. INTRODUCTION

4.  Children rights to education and health are recognised under the Nigerian Constitution and several other subsidiary legislation.  Nigeria has ratified several international instruments that recognise these rights.  The National Assembly also passed the Child Rights Act 2003 to domestically recognise these rights.  Notwithstanding the above laws, the Northern states still have high rates of illiteracy and child mortality.

5.  Nigeria is among five countries that contribute 50% of the annual global children mortality (Nnamuchi, 2007).  The high incidence of the out-of-school children is also linked to the security challenge of Boko Haram currently facing Nigeria (Onuoha, 2014; Aro, 2013).  Provision of education and health facilities is duty of states which directly administer the people and collect taxes. CHALLENGES TO CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

6.  The states have failed to fulfil these obligations.  Many citizens could not afford reasonable education and health care for their children due to poverty (UNICEF, 2000).  Many Nigerians, especially the northerners live below the poverty line yet good schools and health care institutions are becoming increasingly unaffordable. CHALLENGES TO CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

7. States complain that they lack enough resources to provide access to free education and free health care delivery (Abayomi, 2015). The citizens are also legally handicapped to call the governments to action because of Non-Justiciability principle in the constitution. CHALLENGES TO CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

8. Need to harmonise the concerns on both sides By finding alternative ways of making the northern states to provide adequate education and health facilities to children.  Need to harness the potentials of zakah and waqf To supplement government’s funds for providing socio- economic facilities especially education and health care delivery for the children of poor citizens. CHALLENGES TO CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

9.  Zakah and Waqf are among the various institutions established under shari’ah to enhance the socio-economic welfare of the poor.  Islamically, the primary socio-economic obligation of a state is to provide mental and physical security as well as the sustenance of the citizens to fulfil the maqasid al-shari’ah.  Islamic economists found that zakah can be used to fund socio-economic infrastructures like education, vocational training, medical facilities, etc. ROLES OF ZAKAH AND WAQF IN PROVISION OF HEALTH AND EDUCATION FACILITIES

10.  Although zakah and waqf are expected to be private acts, contemporary events have shown the need for government’s involvement.  Many waqf and zakah funds do not pass through proper channels, not recorded and did not form part of any planning strategy.  These institutions are therefore not efficient in providing the needed socio-economic infrastructures.  Another challenge to the relevance of zakah and waqf institutions in Muslim societies is lack of legal framework or proper implementation.

11.  Several Muslim countries have institutionalised the administration of zakah and waqf.  They administer the collection and distribution of zakah and waqf. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, etc., zakah is compulsory. In Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Bangladesh, South Africa, Indonesia, Oman, etc., zakah is voluntarily remitted.

12.  Muslims constitute around 50% of Nigerian population but larger percentages of the Muslims reside in the north.  Nigerian 1999 Constitution allows states to operate Islamic law as a system of law.  Many northern states have adopted shari’ah as one of the official systems of law and have made laws and institutions on shari’ah- related issues.  The states, therefore, have power to make laws on the administration of Islamic personal law matters including waqf and zakah.

13.  Institutionalisation of zakah and waqf may be challenged on two grounds:  Query 1: Institutionalisation of zakah and waqf is a breach of freedom of religion.  But zakah and waqf cater for the welfare of the underprivileged Muslims and non-Muslims  The Qur’an does not exclude non-Muslims from among the beneficiaries of zakah and waqf (Kahf, 1980).  The jamhûr recognise the right of the non-Muslims to benefit from zakah and waqf because it is the duty of the government to ensure their protection from suffering.

14.  Query 2: These institutions will not be viable within the modern Nigerian economic system. Waqf and Zakah institutions supplement modern states’ effort towards fulfilling their obligations. Support macro-economic policies for improving human capital and designing programmes for less privileged. Ensure predictable and constant resources to provide new education and health facilities or refurbish the existing ones. Their Income is immune from economic fluctuations because temporary setback in the financial condition of the individual payer or donor does not affect their ability to give their dues.

15. Government to have a strict anti-corruption stance Sponsor expert researchers to keep working for the continuous development of the fiqh of waqf and zakah and their further roles in modern economics. The government agencies, NPOs and the registered collector companies should include certain marketing strategies that would drive proper identification of eligible zakah payers (especially) and the eligible beneficiaries STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL INSTITUTIONALISATION OF ZAKAH AND WAQF IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

16. Economic policy reform to accommodate and integrate the waqf and zakah into their respective developmental plans. States must pass laws that will establish agencies to collect, administer and distribute the zakah and waqf funds. Recognise the establishment of nongovernmental non- profit organisations (NPOs) that will be registered with the established government agency. STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL INSTITUTIONALISATION OF ZAKAH AND WAQF IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

17.  What constitute socioeconomic infrastructures in the Nigerian constitution are the same with what constitute daruriyah under the maqasid al-shari’ah.  Nigeria still has alarming rates of both infant mortality and out-of-school children.  Northern states has the highest numbers of out-of-school children and infant mortality because the states still grapple with how to overcome these problems.  The states need alternative source(s) of income to fulfil their obligations.  The states could harness the economic objectives and benefits of both waqf and zakah institutions.  Although certain concerns could be raised regarding the legality and viability of the institutionalisation of zakah and waqf both from the constitutional and shari’ah perspectives, this paper has shown that the exercise is supported under both systems. CONCLUSION

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