By Felix Khanoba
The Federation of Muslims Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) has revealed its plan to establish a university in the country.
National Amirah of FOMWAN, Hajia Halima Jibril, made this known on Thursday while addressing newsmen as part of its activities to kickstart its 36th National Conference holding in Abuja from 26th to 29th August, 2021.
While saying the conference, which aimed at ensuring inclusive development will attract participants from across the country, the National Amirah said FOMWAN has continued to impact positively in several sectors in the country, especially in the area of health, peace promotion and education.
She said FOMWAN’s intervention in the education sector has culminated in its present efforts to float a university in the country as well as establishment of several schools in the country.
“The issue of FOMWAN University is work in progress. We just started with the committee put in place but it is based on need. For instance, data suggest that few people gain admission to existing universities because the universities don’t have enough space for them.
“There are other reasons that make students not to get admission but this is one of it and I believe with the advent of FOMWAN University on the national scheme of thing, we will provide that access to more children, particularly those who are interested in Islamic Universities, but it will be a university that will combine all areas of learning that produces the right calibre of graduates that can make contribution to national development,” Hajia Jibril said.
At the basic and secondary levels of education, the national Amirah said FOMWAN was able to enrolled 10,000 out-of-school children in Bauchi and Sokoto states in recent years.
Her words :”From its inception, FOMWAN sought to establish, in unequivocal terms, and with backing from the Quran and hadith of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) the importance of a broad education for all Muslims, and particularly the girl child as a mandatory requirement of life. Education is like the engine which moves the car to all destinations. Without it we will be all static, no development can take place.
” It is in the light of this that FOMWAN has made its mark in its contributions to the basic education sector in Nigeria through the establishment of Islamic-oriented nursery/primary/secondary schools in twenty-six States and the FCT.
” This is in addition to the over 2000 Women’s Islamiyyah classes where religious knowledge, and vocational skills are taught to women.
” Guided by the 2018 UBEC data which puts the number of out-of-school children at 13.2 million with an estimated 60% of these being females, FOMWAN has contributed to the enrolment of out of school children into formal schools in Bauchi and Sokoto States by enrolling 10,000 children across 40 communities in two States with low enrolment (Bauchi and Sokoto States) in a project with NEI+.
“We call on UBEC and the SUBEBs to leverage on FOMWAN’s structure, acceptance by communities, and existing work in education with a view to creating access for more rural children to basic education, particularly in states with low girls’ enrolment. To move our education component forward as we speak, an Advisory committee has been set up by the Board of Trustees on the proposed FOMWAN University.”
Speaking further, the National Amirah called on Nothern governors to collaborate with FOMWAN and other relevant bodies to provide education for millions of Almajiris roaming on the streets.
“FOMWAN is approaching this from the rights’ perspective and from the human resource development perspective. Ten million almajiri children in Nigeria have rights to education of good quality that will make them productive Nigerians in the future.
” It will be colossal waste for this nation If no action is taken to help them develop their innate potentials, but we need to focus on the provision of a broad education which builds spirituality, skills and capacity to navigate other spaces in life,” she said.
While listing some of FOMWAN’s achievements within recent years, the National Amirah said the group embarked on community development projects across the country, health and water sensitisation, peace building, among others, adding many Muslim women also benefited massively froms COVID-19 palliatives.
“The covid pandemic has not only exposed the vulnerability of the women, it has deepened poverty to a very disturbing and unacceptable level.
” FOMWAN responded by creating awareness on covid prevention measures and SGBV on 42 radio stations in local languages. Two million and eighty households across the nation benefitted from the FOMWAN palliatives through cash transfers, donation of foodstuff, settlement of hospital bills for the indigent, donation of recharge cards and other Palliatives.
” This was done through its State chapters during the lockdown period, and supervised by Zonal Coordinators and with contributions from National Committee Chairpersons.
” We need to move away from palliatives to actualizing economic empowerment for women if we are to influence the poverty index and close the inequality gap in Nigeria. According to the DRPC data under the Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) project, 41per cent of women in Nigeria lack access to finance compared to 33 per cent for men.
“Research conducted by the CBN and the enhancing financial innovation and access (2019), women in the north are more excluded than those in the South in terms of access to funds. FOMWAN is ready to work with partners to close this gap and promote inclusiveness of marginalized groups,” she said.