The Spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armiyao Shaibu has described the Ministry of Zongo and Inner City Development as the most powerful initiative taken by any government to address the development challenges of the Muslim community.

According to him, though he understands that the Ministry was not to be a permanent feature of successive governments, he was hoping that it would stick around for much longer to ensure the development of Zongo communities.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Sheikh Shaibu stated that if he had known the Ministry was to be scrapped so soon, he would have begged the President.

“I would have begged the President and said, ‘President, I know you cannot have a permanent Ministry of Zongo, yes, I agree, but for now there is a philosophy, and wisdom, and a purpose for which it has been established. We have not reached there.

“I would have suggested strongly that leave it the way it is, rather look at what are the deficiencies because it is the strongest of steps ever taken to address, in fact, the most powerful in my view, the initiative taken to address frontally the development challenges of the Muslim community.

“It is not so much only about the educational aspect, it has social, moral, ethical and other dimensions, economic dimensions of that which change, reform, in fact it was more about the development, it’s development oriented. It is not necessarily to just establish it,” he said.

He stated that he does not blame the President for scrapping the Ministry after his first term.

He was, however, grateful that the Zongo Development Fund was still active.

He hoped that in the face of rising gangsterism in the Zongo community, stakeholders will sit down to “restrategise, understand the philosophy very well and understand the wisdom behind establishing the fund and see in a very expeditious manner how it becomes the agency by which the Zongos become transformed.”

He said without the Fund’s active involvement in finding a solution to the rising gangsterism in the Zongo communities, the canker would remain and may fester into more serious problems for the country.

He added that “the collaboration with the Muslim chiefs, Imams and the Makaranta teachers within the community must be so strong in addressing even matters of social challenges, youth adventurism and how we can get them close so that within the context of mutual respect and understanding we understand the issues of human rights and how well we should all work to guarantee human right and protection of our society.”

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