Assessment Tour of the Muslim Community in Akpanya
Following the report on the condition of the Muslim community in Akpanya, it is considered necessary to conduct an assessment tour of the area to hold discussions with Islamic and Community leaders and document the religious, social and infrastructural needs of the people such that a coordinated intervention can made to provide relief and assist.
The target infrastructure to assess for rehabilitation, reconstruction or development for the near, short and long terms include, but not limited to the following:
· Water (borehole)
· Other physiological needs – the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, etc.
Long Term Projects
· Electricity, etc
The Assessment Team: MPAC Assessment team
Akpanya is a community under Igalamela/Odolu L.G.A of Kogi State. Being a border town between Kogi and Enugu States (Kogi is circled in blue in the map above), it’s so far away from its Local Government Secretariat which is located at Ajaka and very close to Igbesa South and Igbesa North Local Government areas in Enugu state. The community is made up of about 6000 Muslims, living in the Christian majority community - about 95% of the community are Ibos (Igbo and Hausa languages are commonly spoken). The Igbo Muslim community of Akpanya are not originally from the village, but made "hijrah" to the community after their ancestors converted to Islam. They have a very long history in the Akpanya community and are fully integrated into the community and its life.The Akpanya village is a very remote village that seem to enjoy nothing from the government in terms of provision of infrastructure- no good roads, no drinking water, no electricity, no good schools and no hospitals.
These Igbo Muslims of Akpanya have for time immemorial been mainly petty traders except for few among the younger generation now that are drivers in different companies and organizations, they survive on little, yet they tasked themselves to work extra for the purpose of making sure that their faith is maintained by building a Mosque which is used up to today as their one and only Central Mosque. There are two other Mosques three kilometers away from the central Mosque but are never used for Juma'ah Prayer. meaning, that all the sorrounding communities converge at this Mosque every Friday. Adjcent to the Central Mosque, is an uncompleted building which is serving as a classroom for teaching Islamic Studies, and it is called Islamiyya School. There are no desks, no chairs and no good blackboard.
The Akpanya Muslim Community
According to Alhaji Sayyidi (the Mufassir of the community), Akpanya is a very large community within which you can drive up to 40 kilometers before leaving the community.
The inhabitants are mostly settlers who are Fulanis and the Ibos (Ethnic Ibos being the larger segment of the population). Married men number around 500.
The Akpanya Christian Community with the help of the Catholic Church founded a school of higher standard that rivals that of the Muslims and so virtually all the Christian children were withdrawn, including some of the Muslims. This caused a decline in the population of the school which adversely affected the income of the School; as such, the highest pay for a teacher per Month now, dropped to four thousand Naira Only(4,000).
Lack of standard schools. Although, the Akpanya Muslims seemingly have both Nursery, Primary, and Junior Secondary Schools and they were the first to be privately owned in that community and had the record of initially attracting pupils and students from both the Muslims and even the Christians of that community. But after a while, things started going bad as the Muslims could not maintain the standard due to lack of any support from Government, meager School fees paid, which in turn affected the salary of staff . The school lacks competent teachers. there is dearth of books and other teaching materials. There are no sufficient desks, the ceilings are in a state of ruin and the roof is licking and looking derelict. The walls and floor are in the worse for wear. The school today, lacks any proper organization and good management. The Principal is a Christian and so also some of the teachers. There are no experienced teachers to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies.
The Akpanya Christian Community with the help of the Catholic Church founded a school of higher standard that rivals that of the Muslims and so virtually all the Christian children were withdrawn, including some of the Muslims. This caused a decline in the population of the school which adversely affected the income of the School; as such, the highest pay for a teacher per Month now, dropped to four thousand Naira Only (N4,000).
There are 1 central mosque and 2 other mosques which are like 3 miles away from the Central Mosque.
The one and only Central Mosque in Akpanya is a mosque that was built by the first Igbos who accepted Islam and settled in Akpanya- see below. The building was done with mud blocks, and has been standing for decades. A mere look at the Mosque reveals its dilapidated condition. From the outside, water has washed off some part of the foundation, the painting has lost its initial colour, the walls are cleft. The roofing is hoary. From the inside, the walls are also fissured and the ceilings are old and worn-out. The Mosque is too small to contain the growing number of Muslims of that Community and its environs and generally the sight without mincing words can be said to be horrible.. The small madrasah is also located beside the mosque.
The Muslim Community School
There is presently a Dawah nursery, primary and secondary schools which are located on a large expanse of land in the community. They have started making moves to get the school approved. The schools have both Muslim and Christian students and are presently headed by a non-Muslim, with most of their teachers been Christians due to lack of Muslim teachers.
Adjacent to the Central Mosque, is an uncompleted building which is serving as a classroom for teaching Islamic Studies, and it is called Islamiyya School. There are no desks, no chairs and no good blackboard. Head teacher and the teachers receive a monthly salary of N6,000 and N4,000 respectively. A dilapidated structure of 4 classroom with scanty seats is presently been use for the secondary section while two much more dilapidated and incomplete structures are been use for nursery and primary sections respectively.
Since the appeal sent out by sister Khadijah Hawaja Gambo on the Akpanya Muslim community, many concerned Muslim groups and individuals have taken steps to support and campaign for the community. Alhamdulilah their efforts are bearing the following results that our assessment found on ground:
- Construction of a 2 classroom, 2 toilets an a principal office block: Work-in-progress, construction at foundation stage. This construction is being funded through the generous donation made by a Muslim brother- may Allah reward him, amin.
- Bore-hole: the community has received promise of a bore-hole. Work yet to commence.
Areas Needing Relief and Assistance
- Completion/renovation of existing structures.
- Qualified Muslim teachers who will teach their children not just western education but also arabic and islamic studies.
- A befitting staff quarters for their teachers.
- Construction of a laboratory and a large hall for their Dawah programmes.
- A bigger central mosque.
- Getting the school approved by the government to facilitate the posting of youth corps members to the schools by NYSC.
- Fencing of the land to avoid encroachment.
- Having a well-planned and laid out Islamic centre which will comprise of all the aforementioned and other facilities on the large expanse of land.