9 October 2017
By Gideon Arinze and Odigbo Chidinma
The Sultan of Sokoto and supreme spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has identified ignorance and absence of proper and functional education as reasons for the increasing rate of conflict and violation of human dignity.
Abubakar said that the unfortunate trends in the Muslim-non-Muslim relations in recent years which have witnessed persistent violence and disappointments over the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan continue to prick human conscience.
He said that respect for human dignity cannot be found among communities perpetually in conflict with one another or where poverty and ignorance remain the lot of the people.
Speaking during the 57th Founders Day celebration of the University of Nigeria with the theme: ‘Restoring the dignity of man: Education as a veritable tool’, Abubakar said that human dignity is God-given and as such, its protection and dignity must be ensured.
He stated that dignity connotes inviolability of the human person and a firm recognition of a set of rights and obligations of others.
According to him, there can be no time to call for the restoration of the dignity of man than today when a large part of the human race in developing countries is immersed in deep and protracted armed conflicts.
He said that some of the contemporary practices that violate the dignity of man include: torture, rape, social exclusion, labour, exploitation, slavery and poverty.
He regretted that humanity is still struggling to achieve the basic minimum standard of dignity for man over 70 years after the United Nations declaration of Human Rights.
On the way forward, he said that we must kindle the light of knowledge in order to vanish the darkness of ignorance which is our real enemy.
He said: “Knowledge is life because the ignorant person is merely a liability to the society and any society in which human life is not protected and promoted cannot be considered to be Abubaka,” adding that the “sanctity of human life and the honour conferred in the human person as well as the investment in the development of the human person are the metrics to measure human civilization.”
He also used the occasion to refer to those who go around to kill people in the guise of Fulani herdsmen as criminals who must be dealt with.
Earlier in his address, the Vice Chancellor of the UNN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba said that the history of the University will not be complete without reference to the dreams of the founding fathers which continues to inspire the institution to greater heights.