The Grand Mufti of the Conference of Islamic Organisation (CIO), Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafii has described those who are opposed to the partial land border closure policy of the Nigerian government as either corrupt people or those who derive benefits from corruption.
He said the policy would rather go a long way to increase the Nigeria’s rating on Human Development Index.
The reputable Islamic scholar who spoke exclusively with Muslim News urged the security officials and orientation agencies to create more awareness of the benefits of the policy.
He said Islam encompasses every aspect of human endeavour, noting that the teachings of Islam regarding politics – ‘Fiqh -d- Daolah’ (Method of Establishing and Governing a State) present different aspects in the organisation of a sound society.
“Sometimes these aspects encompass: ‘Janibu Ruuhy’ (Spiritual Upliftment of the Citizens); ‘Janibu Akhlaaqy’ (Moral Aspect); ‘Janibu Thaqofy’ (Civilisation Aspect); ‘Janibu Iqtisaady’ (Economic and Financial Aspects); ‘Janibu Ijtimaa’ee (Social Aspect) and ‘Janibu Amn’ee (Security and Medical Aspects). All these aspects are required to be taken care of by a good government.
“In Islamic governance, something is referred to as ‘Control and Management of Entries and Exits from a Nation’. In those days, land border was most common, but now, air and water borders are inclusive. These are entry and exit points of the country and their control and management calls for decisive actions. This is a responsibility expected from a good government,” he said.
Quoting the early history of Islam, Sheikh Shafii noted that Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) also exercised control of what went in and went out of the Muslim nation.
“During his (Umar) era, there was ‘monetary regulation’ and price control on goods entering and exiting the Muslim nation. Likewise, if the merchants were Muslims, their costs were heavily subsidised by the government compared to the non-Muslims. All these happened during Umar’s era”.
Sheikh Shafii noted that governments all over the world do not just close borders for no reason, stressing that in the face of insecurity posed by dangerous and unhealthy products that come from foreign countries through the borders, it is imperative for the government to monitor and control its border – land, sea and air.
“If a government closes its borders, there are reasons for it. Border closure is not just done aimlessly. Usually, it is meant to control what enters and exits the country and it could be for security reasons or health issues. Sometimes, products entering the country pose serious health risks. In such case, it is compulsory for the government to control its borders.
“If we examine the Nigerian situation, we see that some food items are imported into the country, which we, the citizens, should be able to produce ourselves. In Islam, there is what we call ‘Self-sufficiency of a Nation’. It helps the nation become independent of others in food production.
“This was one of the aspects of the dawah of Imam Hassan Al Banna (May Allah be pleased with him) to members of his movement – the Muslim Brotherhood
“Al Banna who is one of the champions of the Islamic revival of the past century had admonished Muslims to be concerned about the economy of their nations, just as he encouraged them to pay attention to what brings about economic progress such as patronising its indigenous goods.”
For this reason, the renowned Islamic scholar stressed that the action of the government on the land border closure is a good one.
He noted that there are numerous advantages therein, saying, whenever a good government intends a change or a paradigm shift for its citizens, it is expected to spur reactions, since it takes time to get familiar with the process.
“All developed nations in the world today had their struggle times. It is not possible for a nation to grow under neo-colonisation or through worship and prayers alone. This is because we know there is health colonisation, economic colonisation, security colonisation, political colonisation and so on. It is not until we witness the physical presence of colonial armies before we know there is colonisation. Sometimes, the intellect could be colonised and culture, westernised”, he said.
Government advised on competent hands
The Lagos-based Islamic preacher also advised the government to ensure competent hands are engaged in the supervision of this border closure policy to enforce its implementation to the latter, noting that while some people have had to endure the negative effects of this policy, others are still unduly benefitting from it.
In his words, “Without mincing words, Islam supports the policy, but there are some loopholes that must be taken care of. Allah has blessed this government with excellent policies, but there are challenges with their implementations.
“Personnel are crucial. No matter how beautiful policies and regulations are, there is need for human capital development. This is therefore a very important issue. Bad and incompetent hands with little or no understanding of the objectives of the government policies will only lead to failure. Lapses are evident because they couldn’t implement the policies to the latter”.
The Muslim scholar urged the authorities to employ the use of modern technology and drones to monitor the borders. As this will detect defaulters including officials,
In addition to monitoring, Sheikh Shafii also advised the government to prioritise capacity building of its agents.
He submitted that most of the critics of the border closure policy are either corrupt or benefitting from it.
The Grand Mufti said anti-government and anti-people activities such as importing of guns and expired products, as well as drugs and fake goods should be resisted.