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Modern Arabic and Islamic Studies in Bende

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									     Modern Arabic and Islamic Studies in
Bende! State of Nigeria

                                     Z.I. Oseni
Introduction
Bendel State is located in the central part of Southern
Nigeria. As a separate entity, it was created from the
Western Region in 1963 with the now defunct name
"Mid-Western Region of Nigeria". Its headquarters
were in Benin City. It was left intact as one of the
twelve states created by the Gowon administration on
May 27, 1967. In February 1976, the late General
Muritala Muhammad divided Nigeria into nineteen
states. In the process, a parcel of land was excised
from the southeastern end of the state and merged
with the Rivers State. The name of the state then
changed to "Bendel", a contraction of "Benin" and
"Delta" which were the two provinces making up the
state. It is bounded in the east by Benue and
Anambra states; in the West by Ondo state; in the
south by Rivers and the Atlantic Ocean; and in the
north by Kwara State. 1
        In spite of the fact that Muslims form a majority
in Nigeria, Bendel has a Muslim minority who form
about 20% of the state's population. These are found
mainly in the Agbede-Okpelia-lgarra-Auchi axis. The
area was formerly called Kukuruku Division, a name
which was changed to Afenmai Division in 1954
following protests from the people in that division. 2
The density of the Muslim population in the area
equals, that in places like Kano and Sokoto. In point
of fact, Aviele clan (which includes Agbede town), and
Warrake are 100% Muslim until today. Auchi is over


                    Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
99.99%, if one counts the indigenes, while South Ibie,
Ebese-lvbiaro, lagbe and Ekperio, for example, have
more than 80% each. Igarra, Ewu, Irrua and Benin Ci-
ty have a sizeable indigenous Muslim population.
        This phenomenon should not be surprising.
The over-whelming ascendancy of Islam in the
northern zone of Bendel State can be explained by
the fact that the area was indirectly part of the Sokoto
Caliphate in the latter half of the 19th century. The
area was raided and conquered by the Nupe who
were themselves operating under Gwandu in the
Caliphate founded by Shakyh 'Uthman ibn Foduye.
Bendel and the Hansas was afoot for some time, real
Islamization occurred, ironically", after the British had
freed the area from the yoke of Nupe imperialism, in
the first two decades of the 20th century. 4
        The most prominent personalities in this
Islamic proselytization were Oba Momodu I of Agbede
(d. 19JO) and the Otaru of Auchi Momoh Idaeo (d.
1944)& These two rulers destroyed the idols in their
domains and made Islam die "state religion". 6 They
had their local and non-native stalwarts, mainly
Hausa, Nupe and Yoruba Mallams who helped to
spread Islamic education in the area. Among them
one must mention Mallam Momoh (d, 1968) from Bida
and Mallam Isa Bawah ibn Muhammad {d. 1973) from
Hadeji- in Kano State.
        Among the Islamic scholars sent by Momoh
Idaeo of to neighboring towns were Mallam Umaru
Idaeo, (sent to Apana-Uzairue); Mallam Sule Ebibi of
lyekhei (Kent lo Ayogwiri-L'zairue); Mallam Abu
Edegbai of Utsogu (sent to Ogbido-Uzairue), Maiiam
Yesufu Braimah, a Yoruba resident at Auchi (sent to


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Afashio-Uzairue); Mallam Urnoru Zegi-a Hausa
scholar resident at Auchi-(sent to lyuku-Uzairue);
Maiiam Momodu Abdullahi of Akpckpc (sent to Fugar-
Avianwu) etc.7 Other mallams who cannot be
justifiably left out in this respect were Mallam Aliu
fdaeo. brother of the Otaru Momoh Idaeo, Mallarns
Aliu, Umaru Meisabi and Ibrahim, all of Akpekpe;
Mallam Aliu of lyetse Utsogu, Auchi, and Mallam Sule
of lyekhei. The CMani was able to achieve much by
virtue of the powers conferred on him by the British
colonial administration as District Head (D.H.) from
1919 lo 1935 and ihe assiduity of his maJiams and
chiefs.
        Similarly, the Oba of Agbede, Momodu i and
his successor, Oba Amedu (r. 1910-1919) whose
sphere of influence included Warrake, Odighie,
Idegun, Ivgiaro, Eware, Ihievbe, and Jagbe, did much
to spread Islam in the area.3 Through their efforts,
Islam also spread to parts of Esan (present Agbazilo
and Okpebho, local government areas of me state).
Ewu and Irrua towns were the most affected in the
zone. Today the royal family in Irrua is a Muslim
family. Incidentally. Irrua is regarded as the most
prominent of Esan towns and villages. A renowned
chief of Irrua, Prince Shaka Momodu (Ishaq
Muhammad) alias Lion of the Mid-West was one of
those who fought for the creation of the Mid-West in
1963. He later became a minister in the region (1964-
66)
        In the case of Benin City and its environs,
Islam spread to the area first from Yoruba and.
According to I.A.B. Balogun, the first indigene to
embrace Islam was Maiiam Ibrahim Elaho Guobadia.


                  Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
He became a Muslim in Ilorin where he was trading in
1898.10
       There are pockets of Muslim communities in
major towns in non-Muslim areas of Bendel such as
Warn. BuruUt. Bomadi, Asaba. Ogwashi-Uku, Sapele.
Agbor, Ughelli, Oleh and Kwale. Such Muslims are
mainly workers and traders from Afen-mai, Esan,
Yorubaiand, the northern part of Nigeria, and outside
the country,
       Within a couple of decades, the fruits of Islamic
education were already being harvested in
abundance in Afenmai area of Bendel State.
Prominent scholars were trained in the traditional
manner locally and in northern Nigeria, particularly in
Kano. Some of the most prominent scholars trained in
Kano include Alhaji Shu ‘ayb of Agbede (d 1960 who
was reputed to be a great scholar and even a saint in
Kano; Alhaji Zubayr ibri Abduliah of Dododawa family
in Agbede (d. 197i); Alhaji Mamudu jof Agbede;
Mallam Saiih Yahya of lyekhei, Auchi (d. 1978) 1';
Shaykh Aihaji Jdrees , ibn Adam of lyekhei who was
reputed to have studied m the north, in Cairo and
some other Arab capitals. He was regarded as
"Okpeda" i.e. a sea (of knowledge). He returned to
Auchi Wind, and died subsequently in 1966. Alhaji
Momodu of Iv-biaro (d. 1983) studied in Kano too. So
also did Afhaji Momodu fBature) of Aibotse, Auchi."
       When most of the above scholars came back
to Bendel, they joined the local scholars amongst
whom were Hausa, Yoruba. Nupe and Afenmai
scholars to spread the knowledge of Islam. Some
Mallams who could not travel, studied assidously
under the learned ones within the locality.


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
       Of these in Auchi there emerged such Islamic
scholars as Mallam Vakubu Kusa (d. 1980),
Muhammad Abutudu (d. 1981) Chief Imam of Auchi
(1973-81), Muhammad (Ahmadu) Sa'fd (the present
Chief Imam of the town), Idrecs-Oboh Oseni, teacher,
preacher and Qur’anic exegete (d. 1984), "Abdiii
Rahman AIJu and Ibrahim Aliu (Dania). Others are
Mallams Garuba Isa of lyekhei, Umaru of Igbhei,
Yakubu and Musa of Aibotes, Maliki of IvpfaL and
Agana and Garuba of Utsogu.
       One must mention also Alhaji Shaykh Abdu!
Kadiri Dane-si-Chief Imam of lyakpi, Alhaji Osen —
Chief Imam of lyerekhu, Aihaji Braimab — late Chief
Imam of Ibienafe, Alhaji Braimah —late Chief Imam of
Ughieda, Imam Ubiaja of Uzairue, Alhaji Abbas
Afegbua of Okpelia, Alhaji Abubakar and the Naibi of
Ikpc-Uzairue, Alhaji Musa, and finally, Aihaji Momoh
Jimah, an erudite scholar at Agbede.

Training in Modern Arabic and Islamic Schools
In Bendel, it was decided by Muslim leaders that
using the traditional methods of rote and time study
could no longer meet the challenges of the time.
Moreso, Western education with all its glittering baits
was being used to lure Muslim children into
Christianity. There was a dire need for overhauling
the Islamic educational system. Those who travelled
to places like Ibadan, Lagos, Owo, Ilorin, Kano and
Zaria noticed that Afenmai Muslims needed to brace
up for improvements. This Is how the first batches of
Auchi students were sent to Arabic schools in Yoruba
land, and the north from the 1940s to the 1980s. The
beneficiaries were:


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
          Mallam Khidr (Aneru) ibn Muhammad of
lyekhei, Auchi, who studied under a number of
scholars locally before proceeding to the north. He
studied in some modern Arabic and Islamic institutes
in Kano; he returned to Bendel in 1963 and
established modern Qur'anic and Arabic schools all
over Afenmai.
          Similarly Alhaji M.B. Danesi studied at the
famous school for Arabic studies (S.A.S.), Kano, for
his Higher Muslim Teachers' certificate course. This
was after his studies at Owo (1969-71)
          Mallam Y.U. Usman, son of a prominent
Islamic scholar, Mallam Umar Meisabi (b. c. 1905)
was sent by his father to Arabic Training Centre,
Agege, Lagos, Similarly, Mallam Anefi K. Abu (now a
Major in the Nigerian Army) went to the same school.
Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Grtsekhai spent a year at
Agege and transferred to Owo, to complete his
ibtitla'iyyah education.
          By and large, Bendel Muslims have benefitted
more from El-Adabiyyah School for Arabic Studies,
Owo, than any other Arabic school in Nigeri? fo date.
The founder "and principal of the school, Alhaji K.S.
Apaokagi was a friend to the Otaru of Auchi, A.K.
Momoh (r. 1955-70). Prominent among the people
who trained in Owo are Aihajis M.S. Aliu, Y.D. Elamah
(Vice Principal, Arabic & Islamic Institute, Auchi),
Ibrahirn U Ortsekhai, Abdul 'Azeez A.K. Momoh,
Muhammad Sani Bawah, Idris Umar, Dr. Zakariyau
Oseni, Captain Suiayman Yekini, Alhaji Muhammad
Busayrf Danesi, Maliam Abdul Mumini Oseni, Mallam
'Abdullah Yusuf, Mallam Abbas S. Ahmed, Alhaji
Yusuf Bawah, Mailams Sa’id Usman Ortsekhai,


                  Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Abdullah Saliu Uweni, Aiiu Danlami Hawaii, Abeni
Suiayman Osue, Akashat Suiayman Okhimambe,
Dauda Oseni Okhalyole Abduf-Hamid Momoh,
Abubakar Oshornogho, Abdul-Muttalib Abu, Tiiani
Momodu, Muazu Abdul-Qadir and Muhammad Abdul
Qadir.
        From the late seventies, for some unknown
reasons, the Arabic Institute of Nigeria. Elekuro,
Ibadan, became popular among Bendel Muslims. A
group of students from Auchi, Avianu, Weppa-Wano,
Avieie South Ibie, and Uzairue, studied at Ibadan. A
number of them was able to proceed to Saudi Arabia
for higher studies. The most prominent of these is
Aihaji Mukhtar Yusuf Inanoba of Ekperi, a graduate of
the Islamic University, Medina. He is now the
principal, Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies,
Auchi. Many others like him are still in Saudi
universities. There is hope that when they come back,
more progress will be made in Islamic education in
the state.

University-Trained Arabic & Islamic Scholars in
Bendel
With rapid development in the training of Arabic and
Islamic scholars in modern Arabic schools, there was
great optimism that Islamic education would improve
qualitatively and quantitatively in the state. The
establishment of the Department of Arabic and
Islamic Studies at the University of Ibadan in 3961
was particularly a blessing to Bendei Muslims. The
University established an intensive course called
"Certificate Course in Arabic and Islamic Studies" in
1963 to train Arabic and Islamic teachers who would


                  Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
be able to teach effectively in primary and secondary
schools. The course was meant for seasoned Arabic
graduates of Arabic institutes.13 To date the following
Bendelites have benefitted from the programme:
       A.K. Abu (1963-64), Auchi; M.S. Aliu (1963-
64); Auchi; M.A. Momoh (1964-65), Avieie; YU.
Usman (1966-67), Auchi; Y.D. Elamah (1967-68),
Auchi; I.U. Ortsekhai (3969-70), Auchi; Z.I. Oseni
(1970-73), Auchi; S.L. Yekini (1970-71), Igarra; A.
Bawah (1972-73), Auchi; I.S. Ekwale (1975-76),
Urhobo; A.S. Osue (1981-82), Warrake; and M.B.
Danesi (1982-83), South Ibie.
       The one-year course offered the candidates
the opportunity to augment their Arabic and Islamic
Studies, learn something about education, including
teaching methodology, and a good dose of the
English Language. Many of them like some of their
old class-mates from Yoruba land who had written
and passed G.C.E. examinations, returned for first
degree and post-graduate programmes after the eye-
opening certificate in Arabic and Islamic Studies. 14
They now contribute in their modest ways to Islamic
education at different levels and in various places all
over Nigeria.
       The same Department of Arabic and Islamic
Studies introduced 3 two-year Diploma Course in
Arabic and Islamic Studies in 19%. So for, only two
candidates from Bende' have taken the course. One
of them is Mrs. Sikirat Mercy Kadiri (1981-83). She
has proceeded from there to do a B-A. Hons. degree
course in Islamic Studies and graduated. She is the
second female to undertake such a course in Bendel
State, the first one being Mrs. Hasana Lawal who


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
obtained a Bachelor's degree in Education, Islamic
Studies and English from Bayero University, Kano in
1984.
        As regards degree holders in Arabic and
Islamic Studies, they are very many, some even non-
Muslim Bendelites who 'studied at the 'university of
Ibadan under syllabus B' Programme. The most
prominent in the field of Arabic and Islamic Studies at
present art
        Alhaji Muhammad Auto Audu (1969) formerly a
school principal. He is now engaged in agricultural
business. He is an Islamic activist too; Alhaji A.O.
Sule (1969), formed) the Principal of Momodu
College, (Old Ansar-Ud-Deen College1! Agbede. he
died m 1984; Lt. Co!. A.O. Arunah 0972)-Nigerian
Army Education Corps. llorin; Mr. /.(.). Kadiri (1973).
Principal, Comprehensive High School, Auchi; Alhaji
H.I.B. Monite (1974), I.R.K. Tutor. Federal
Government College, florin; Aihaji Yusuf Garuba
(1974), Bendei State Judicial Commission, Benin City
he is also the Secretary-General of the Supreme
Council of Islamic Affairs Bendel State Branch; Mr.
Habib Elabor (1974) Ministry of External Affairs,
Lagos; Aihaji Z.O. Obomeghei (1975) formerly
Secretary', Bendel State Pilgrims' Board. Benin City,
is in the State Ministry of Education now: Mr. I.M.
Adamu (1975) I.R.K. tutor. Federal Govt. College,
Ugwolawo. Idah, Benue Stale; Major A.K. Abu (1976),
an Imam with the 2nd Mechanised Division, Nigerian
Army. Ibadan; Dr. Z.I. Oseni, (1977) Lecturer in
Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of llorin; Mr.
Y.U Usman, (1978) I.R.K. tutor, Auchi Teachers'
College. Auchi; Lt. Otokiti (1981) Nigerian Army


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Education Corps, llorin, his father, Alhaji Aminu Y.
Otokiti, is the Chief imam of Benin City; Mr. A.S.
Okhimamhe (1984) presently taking his post-graduate
course at Ibadan; Alhaji Mukhtar Yusuf Inanoba
(1984), Principal, Institute of Arabic and Islamic
Studies, Auchi, presently on missionary work. Mr.
Tahiru Saiihu Baiogun (1984). I.R.K. tutor, Command
Secondary School, Ojo, Lagos; and Mrs. Sikiratu
Mercy Kadiri (1986), I.R.K. teacher, Comprehensive
High School, Auchi.
        All the people mentioned above are practicing
Muslims engaged seriously in the spread of Arabic
and Islamic education. There are many others who
studied Arabic and Islamic and are Muslims but are in
other branches of the civil service both at the state
and federal levels. There are many others too whom
one may not know.15

Modern Arabic and Islamic Schools in Bendel State
As a follow-up to the efforts of Bendei Muslims to
have sound Arabic and Islamic education, attempts
have been made to establish modern Arabic and
Islamic schools in a number of places such as Igarra,
Agbede, Auchi, Benin City, South-Ibie (lyakpi), and
Warrake. The old make-shift arrangement was no
longer sufficient, adequate, or suitable for leaching
the new generation of pupils who have been exposed
to Western system of education.36
. Among the Ansar-Ud-Deen Community in Benin City
some efforts were made under the dynamic
leadership of the late Alhaji A.K. Yesufu (from
Agbede). The Ahmadiyyah Mission in Benin City
exerted much effort too in the use of modern methods


                  Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
in teaching their children. More importantly, the
central mosque in Benin near Oba Market has for
some decades been a centre of Arabic and Islamic
learning. There is a section in the mosque premises
for leaching of the reading of the Qur'an and some
basic knowledge of Arabic and Islam.
        At Auchi many activities have been recorded in
the field of Arabic and Islamic Studies. First of all, the
Ansar-Ud-Deen Society established a Qur'anic school
in 1961." The teacher was Alhaji M.S. Aliu. The
school was expanded in January 1964 after the exit of
the teacher. Alhajis Y.D. Elamah and I.U. Ortsekhai
took over. The school has trained hundreds of pupils
to be able to read the Qur'an properly. They also
taught the rudiments of Arabic language and Islamic
Studies to interested people. Many of their students,
including the present writer, later studied at Owo. The
two Mallams were joined at one time or another by
Mallams Abdul-Azeez A.K, Momoh, Muhammad Sani
Bawah, Idris Umar, Zakariyau Oseni, Suiaiman Katibi
Musa, Abbas, and Nun. Some students were trained
up to ibtida'iyyah level. This was the situation until
1980 when the Auchi Community decided to re-
organise the school; the result was the Institute of
Arabic and Islamic Studies, Auchi.18
        In addition to the efforts of the Ansar-Ud-Deen
Society, Auchi, Mallam Khadir (Aneru) Muhammad
who studied in Kano came home and established a
large Arabic School at Auchi in late 1963. There were
two sections, the Qur'anic and the 'Ilmi. The school
grew in leaps and bounds. Within two years, the
Mallam established branches in places like South
Ibie, Ikpe-Uzairue, Warrake and Avieie (Ughioii and


                    Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Ubiane). However owing to managerial detects and
the proprietor's inability to draw out a systematic
syllabus for the school, by 1970 the edifice had
collapsed. It was a sad occasion. At the apogee of its
popularity, Mallam Khadir's school was the most
widespread Arabic school in Bendel. The Mallam is
still actively engaged in teaching Arabic and Islamic
knowledge —but on a smaller scale.
         Mallam A.K. Abu also established a modern
Arabic school at Auchi after his Certificate Course in
Arabic at Ibadan (.1964). He taught a number of
pupils how to read the Qur'an. He also taught more
advanced students the basic elements of Arabic and
Islam. This was before he left teaching and joined the
army during the civil war as an Imam. 19
         Similar activities have been recorded in
Agbede. Igarra and Ikpe-Uaairue. At Agbede, a very
traditional Muslim town, there is an Arabic School
which was established recently. It is manned by the
two sons of the late erudite scholar, Mallam Mamudu,
Bako and Bilal.
         At Igarra, a Qur'anic school is operated at the
central mosque in Igarra-Sale along the Old Ibillo
Road. It has produced over the years a number of
people capable of reading the Qur'an properly. The
chief Imam of the mosque and his aides are keenly
interested in the advancement of the mosque school.
         At Ikpe, a new Arabic school has been founded
by the Muslim community. The town is about 5
kilometers north of Auchi. Efforts are being made now
10 get more qualified tutors to teach in the school.




                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Arabic and Islamic Studies in Public Schools in
Bendel State
These twin courses are offered in some schools in
Bendel State, particularly the Muslim dominated
northern zone of the state. In Etsako some schools,
particularly those established by Muslim communities,
have the two subjects on their syllabi. There are
Arabic teachers (as they are called) who teach Islamic
Religious Knowledge (I.R.K.) in most of the" local
government" primary schools.
        However by the middle of 1972, there were
only two secondary schools where Islamic Religions
Knowledge was offered as a subject in the whole
state. These were Ansar-Ud-Deen College, (now
Momodu College) Agbede, and Ahmadiyyah (now
Edaiken) Grammar School, Okhuaihe, Benin.
        In October 1972, the then governor of the
state, Col. S.O. Ogbemudia abolished the. teaching of
I.R.K. in Bendel primary schools. Many of the
Mallams were dismissed from teaching, and a few
who could teach other subjects were retained. Those
of them who even had the certificate in Arabic and
Islamic Studies were reduced to the status of
untrained teachers. At least one of them resigned his
appointment as a result of this.
        During the Muhammad —Obasanjo
Administration, the Bendel governor. Commodore
Husain Abdullahi re-introduced I.R.K. to the school
curricula and got the Ministry of Education to recruit
Mallams for the subject. That was in 1976. A uniform
I.R.K. syllabus was prepared by this writer (then an
undergraduate), thanks to Mr. Ayewoh, the broad-
minded, amiable Christian inspector of education at


                  Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Auchi, who requested the former to help the state
government in the matter. The syllabus is the one still
in use in the state especially in Etsako, Akoko-Edo,
Owan and Oredo Local Government areas. In the
case of secondary schools. I.R.K. is offered at Esigie
College, Abudu and Auchi Teachers' College, Auchi.
        It should be noted at this juncture that Arabic is
not formally offered at the School certificate level in
any school in the state. However, some students who
attended Arabic schools privately either before or
during their secondary education, have had to write
the paper in their school's certificate examinations.
Some of them have been successful.
        In College of Education in Bendel, neither
Islamic Studies nor Arabic is offered as a subject.
Rather. Religious Studies or Religious Education
which is not a teaching subject in any school-be it
primary or post-primary- is what they have. This
surreptitious manner of teaching Christian Studies
under the guise of Religious Studies has been
criticized elsewhere.20 We hope the present governor
of Bendel State, Col. J.M. Inienger will look into the
matter dispassionately and objectively, and remove
the anomaly.
        There are two universities in the state, the
University of Benin, Benin City and Bendel State
University, Ekpoma. In the former, religion is not
offered. In the latter, Religious Studies as a subject is
offered in the Faculty of Arts; the pattern is similar to
what is done in the Colleges of Education in the state.




                    Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
Conclusion
It has been noted how Islam was introduced to
Bendel State partly as an aftermath .of the Nupe
invasion of Afenmai in the 19th century and partly
through the contacts of Benin people with
Yorubaland. It has been observed too how some
powerful traditional rulers in Aghede and Auchi
destroyed their idols and Islamised their domains, As
a necessary accompaniment of Islam, learning was
encouraged and Muslims, especially in Afenmai, Esan
and Benin, studied the rudiments of Islam with much
enthusiasm.
        With the passage of time, however, the old and
slow method was no longer adequate; so, Muslims
followed the example .of what was opening in some
other parts of Nigeria and adopted the modern
method of learning. A number of Bendelites studied in
various places, and their society has benefited from
their Arabic and Islamic Studies. Some of these
scholars work in Bendel and a few others are in other
parts of Nigeria. It has lo be said candidly that their
achievements arc far from being satisfactory but the
struggle has just begun.
        There is still ignorance of some aspects of the
pristine message of Islam. Scholars need to brace up,
lead by example, study with devotion, and impart
knowledge selfless-ly. They should be mentally alert,
ready to imbibe positive innovations in education.
Ignorance among our elders about Islamic tenets
needs to be eradicated. The Mallams can do this in
Bendel State as in other societies. Parents should be
made to understand the importance of Islamic
education. They, in their turn, should be able to bring


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
up God-conscious children who will be an asset to
their society.
         The government has much to contribute. It is
not a favor as such for the Bendel State government
or any government for that matter, to see to the
religious education of its subjects be they Muslims or
Christians. It is in the best interest of the government
itself. At least, from the 'secular’ point of view,
religious i.e. Islamic education for Muslim children
would result in having good citizens who would know
their duties to God and to man. Hence the need for
the government to honestly train Arabic and Islamic
teachers in its University at Ekpoma, colleges of
education and secondary schools and teachers
colleges. Arabic and Islamic Studies should be taught
in these institutions so that Muslims would have a fair
treatment in the educational arena. Man does not live
by bread alone; he needs spiritual nourishment which
will inculcate in him a sense of responsibility which
will even teach him how to bake his bread in the best
manner.
         Federal government colleges in the state which
admit students from all over the country should act
positively to introduce and enhance the teaching of
Arabic and Islamic Studies in the schools. Muslim
children, it should be emphasized, need Islamic
education in addition to whatever they study.
On the part of the Muslim communities in the state,
they should continue to strive for the Islamic
education of their children. The Arabic schools in the
area should be streamlined to conform with the
recognized levels in both the Arab world and our
peculiar milieu. The scholars in charge of these


                   Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
Vol.8:1,January
 schools should be aware of the great responsibility
 placed on their shoulders by God and their
 communities.

                                     Notes
  This is a revised version of a paper read at the
  Eleventh Annual Conference of the Nigerian
  Association of Teachers of Arabic"& Islamic Studies
  held at the College of,Education. Osiele, Abeot.uus
  on 24-23 Sept.. 1986. The title remains the same.
1.     Bendel State of Nigeria, Programme. Fourth
       National Development          Plan1981-85.
       (Official Document No. 3 Benin City:
       Government Press. !982, p. 3.
2. D.B. Partridge, Areport of an inquiry into Certain
   Matters Connected with the Creation of a Separate
   Division for Ivbiosakon Area. Benin City: Mid-West
   State of Nigeria, 1971, p, 7. See also LA.B.
   Balogun, The influence of Islam among Etsako
   people of Bendel Stale of Nigeria", NATAIS: Journal
   of the Nigerian Association of Teachers of Arabic
   and Islamic Studies, Vol. II, 1 Dec., 1980. p. 29; Z.I.
   Oseni. "Afenmai--Yekhee Proverbs: Collection,
   Translation and Annotation". (Forthcoming), p. ix
3. .For details on how Afenmai area was conquered.
   see I. A.B. Baiogim. "The Introduction of Islam into
   Etsako Division of the Mid-Western State of
   Nigeria", ORfTA: Ibadan Journal of Religious
   Studies. Vol. VI, No. 1. June, 1972, pp. 27-38; Z.O.
   Kadiri. "Islamic Novembers in Etsako Division", B.A.
   Long Essay, Ibadan, depl. of Arabic & Islamic
   Studies, University of Ibadan, 1973: and M.M. Duze.
   "Afenmai and Its Invaders in the 19th Century", M.A.


                     Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
 Vol.8:1,January
       Dissertation, Ife. Dept. of History University of Ife,
       1979.
 4.     O. A. ikharo. The founding & Origin of Auchi Clan",
       a mimeographed paper, Auchi. 28th Feb., 1985.
 5.    See I. A.B. Baiogun. in NATAIS, op. cil., p. 30, See
       also O. A. Ikharo, op. cil.. p. 5. According to this
       source, the total Islamisation of Auchi by Momoh
       took place in 1914 during ihe reign of Momoh's
       uncle and predecessor, Otaru ikharo. The latter
       granted Momoh the permission to destroy-the idols
       in the town and make Islam the official faith of Auchi
       people
 6.    Ibid.. P. 5.
 7.    Ibid., pp. 11-12.
 8.    See J.O.B. Ornoruan. "The planting of Islam in
       Afenmailand: Ihievbe —a case study", B.A. Long
       Essay, florin, Dept. of History, University of Ilorin,
       1986, pp. 42-46. See also. I.A.B. Balogun in ORITA
       . . . Op. cit., p, 34. For details on the Muslim rulers of
       Agbede and Its Sphere of Influence, see A.O. Sole,
       "Islam in Aviele Clan, Etsako Division of Mid-
       Western State of Nigeria", Ibadan. Dept. of Arabic &
       Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, 1969.
 9.    D.A.R. Alexander. Report of the Commission
       appointed to enquire into the Owegbe Cult
       (including statement by the Government of the Mid-
       Western Croup of Provinces) Benin City,
       Government Press, 1966. p. 42. The commission
       absolved Prince Shake Momodu of involvement in
       the cult (p. 44).
10.    See l.A.B. Balogun, "The episode of Islam in the
       Ancient City of Benin", Nigerian Journal of the



                          Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
      Vol.8:1,January
    Humanities. No. 1, Benin City. Faculty of Arts,
    University of Benin, 1977, pp. 18-28.
11. Mallam Salih Yahya trained as an Islamic scholar in
    Lokoja. Onitsha and Mariabo in Kano. He wrote at
    least two works which have been studied. See A.O.
    Arunah, "The Contribution of Shaykh Salih Yahya to
    ihe Course of Islam in Auchi Town as Depicted in
    his Works", Ibadan, Dept. of Arabic & Islamic
    Studies, University of Ibadan, 1972. See also Z.I.
    Oseni. "A Compilation of Intentions for Acts of
    Worship by Shaykh Salih Yahya" (Forth-coming).
12. The latter is the Mufassir {Quranic exegele) of Auchi
    at present,
13. University of Ibadan, Faculty of Arts prospectus
    1974-75. Ibadan, University of Ibadan, 1975, p.211.
    See also S.O. Oloso, The Department of Arabic and
    Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan; Its contribution
    to Arabic learning in Nigeria (1961-1985 C.E,}" B.A.
    Long Essay, Dept., of Religions,
    University of llorin, 1985, pp. 33-35 and 112-116.
    For the importance of the course, see S.A.S.
    Gaiadanci, Hamkat al-Lughat alftrabiyyah wa
    Adabiha fi Nayjiriya. Cairo, Dar al-Maarif, 1982,
    pp. 272-277.
14. These are Dr. Z.I. Oseni, Maliam Y.U. Usman, and
   Major A.K. Abu.
15. There are others too, of whom one is not certain
   about their places of work.
!6. To these pupils, teaching Arabic and Islamic
    Knowledge should be made as          interesting as
    possible.
17. Ansar-Ud-Deen Society did much to help the
    advancement of Arabic and Islamic learning in Et-


                      Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
   Vol.8:1,January
       sako. It established primary and Modern schools in
       the area. It also founded Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar
       School, Agbede which is now called Momodu
       College. The great pillars of the society in Afenmai
       were Alhaji Shaibu Modagbe of Avia-U'zaime, (d.
       1976) Alhaji Abubakar Yaro Lecky, of Auchi, Aihaji
       A.D. Obomegbei of Auchi, Alhaji Nasiru of Agbede
       and Alhaji Aliu Omokide of Igarra. At Auchi, Aihajis
       Abubakar Yaro Lecky, Saiiu Oba Braimah, Idrees-
       Oboh Oseni, Isa
       Bawah Garuba, Abdur-Rahi^an A.!iu. Haruna
       Brasilia!! Oshiobugliie and others piaved a vital role
       in supervising the Qur'anic and 'Ihni school in the
       Sown.
18 See Z.I. Oseni, "Notes on the Institute of Arabic &
     Islamic Studies. Auchi,           Bendei State of
     Nigeria" (a working paper). April, 1986. The school
     caters for the btida'iyyah f Elementary) and I'dadiyyah
     (Intermediate) levels Arabic & Islamic Studies
19 Major A.K. Abu wrote a B.A. Research Essay
     captioned "The Growth and Development of Arabic
     Studies in Atenmai Division of the Mid-Western State
     of Nigeria". Ibadan, Dept, of Arabic & Islamic
     Studies. University of Ibadan. 1976.
2 10 For details, see Zack Oseni. "Religious Studies in
     Colleges of Education". The Nigerian Observer,
     Benin City. Nigeria. March 3, 1981. p. 5. In the said
     article, the present writer appealed to the
     State Government lo solve the problem and remedy
     the situation. Unfortunately, nothing as such
     has been done till now.




                        Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs,
     Vol.8:1,January

								
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