‘Police arrest parents who don’t send wards to school in my domain’
Alhaji Musa Muhammad Ijakoro is the Emir of Bwari, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In this interview with
he says he gets police to arrest any parent who refuses to enroll his child in school. He also speaks about how he became the Emir of Bwari. Excerpts:
Can you recall the circumstances that led to your appointment as the Emir of Bwari?
You know everything has its own time. When we were to be upgraded, I was already the first chairman of the council of traditional rulers in Abuja, when the government decided during Abacha’s regime, with General Jeremiah Useni as the FCT minister, to upgrade some traditional rulers to second class chiefs.
Considering my background and, also with the will of God, I was upgraded to second class chief of Bwari.
Can you give us a brief history of Bwari Emirate Council?
Before now, there was no Emir. We had the village head and the district head. But with the coming of the FCT, government deemed it fit to have the traditional rulers operate as Emirs like in other states. There are the first class chiefs, while about four to five others including myself are second class chiefs, and about six others are third class chiefs in FCT.
As a custodian of cultural heritage in this domain, what plans do you have to improve, as well as promote the culture of the people of Bwari? Okay, very good question. Culturally, every ethnic group has its culture, Gbagyi, Fulani, Ebira, Igala etc, all have different cultures. However, in recent times, some people are leaving their own culture and embracing the western culture, like the Gbagyi, they used to have this yearly festival they perform, but with the coming of Islam and Christianity, it is no longer practiced again.
Sir, there is no doubt you have interest in education, what advice do you have for the people in your domain with regards to the importance of education?
That is my field, before now, if anyone failed to take his child to school, I had the child flogged and the father of the child will be handcuffed by the police, because I want everyone in my domain to be educated, because I went to school myself.
And I was trained by my predecessors that education is the most important thing a parent can give to the child.
What impact have you made on the lives of the people of Bwari since 1976 till date?
First of all, we enlighten parents on the importance of education and why they must send their wards to school, and if they refuse to comply, we have them punished. More so, we also enlighten the farmers on how to apply fertilizers on their farms and we at times supply them with free fertilizers.
Furthermore, we educate the people on health issues and why they should go to the hospital in case of any health challenges; and the men are encouraged to register their wives for antinatal in the hospital.
You are aware of the security challenges that the country is facing in recent times. What measures from the perspective of a royal father are you putting in place? Things have changed. Before now, when a stranger entered the village, you must see the village head, but if it passes the capacity of the village head, he will hand the stranger over to the district head or even to the local security around for security purposes. But now, the reverse is the case. People now enter the town anyhow with nobody to question them on their mission.
Your Royal Highness how do you spend your leisure?
I spend most of my leisure time with my grandchildren whom am very fond of. I love it most when we play together in the palace. If am not with the kids, then I will have some quiet moment to meditate about happenings around me. I also love reading the Holy Quran in my chambers, and my weekends are spent playing golf in the court yards with either friends or with my children.