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The Chief Imam of University of Abuja, Prof. Taofeeq Abdul Azeez has identified poor treatment of pensioners and old people as major factors responsible for the problems facing Nigeria.
The Islamic scholar stressed that the country is witnessing the wrath of Allah because of how pensioners and old people are being treated.
Prof. Abdul Azeez who spoke during a TV programme: “Sahur Live” noted that Nigeria is facing the consequences of neglecting parents and old people.
He stressed that Allah has placed a curse on the country that mismanages pension fund .
The professor lamented that pensioners faced lot of challenges in getting their gratuity and pension despite serving the country diligently.
He also noted that there is need for Nigerians to start linking the challenges facing the country to how old people are being treated.
He added, “As individuals, as religious groups, as government, we seem to have failed because nobody seems to be talking about this. Nobody seems to be linking our various problems to the wrath of Allah as a result of the way we treat our parents and old people in the society.
“Taking care of your parents and old people is a divine responsibility squarely place on children either male or female.
“One other thing that has made the prevalence of the educated segment of this community; this part of the community to fail and to become a source of embarrassment and the cause of the wrath of Allah on us in Nigeria is the mismanagement through corruption of pension fund.
“When somebody has worked for 35 years and he is sixty and you asked him to go home ; his gratuity and pension is not coming one year after. Whereas this person has not stolen, this person has served the nation, but this person is now being sent out in penury, in sickness and poverty, then you expect Allah to be pleased with us?
“This money has been stolen already and you are now asking them to come for verification. They will borrow money to come, they are weak, they are sick, they cannot stand the rigour of this verification. These people have served this nation and some people ruin this nation and stole the sweat of these people .
“The prophet has told us that the sweat of the worker must not dry up before you pay him off and then we are doing this. We are Muslims, we are Christians and we don’t care what God is going to think about this and how God is going to react to this.
“People are dying on the queue, people are dying while trying to get their gratuity and pension. We set up pension administrator who make money, who do business with the sweat of other people and they don’t care.
“This policy should just be reviewed and be discarded. People who do this are not better than people who eat up people’s inheritance. They are not better than people who oppress the orphans.
“Pensioners become very useless, they have to beg for money to go back to their villages, they had to beg for money to eat. If you see them, you will cry.”
The Islamic cleric however suggested that the government should make sure the old people in the country are not suffering.
He also charged religious institutions to see it as a personal divine responsibility in taking care of the old people in the society.
He further said, “any responsible government should not look on while this kind of problem is going on. Any responsible government should stand up even if this is the only thing they achieve.
“The religious Institution would have failed and when the religious institution fail, then, social institutions will fail and crash. When this happen, there will be social crisis; Allah will be angry.
“At individual level, we neglect our parents and some of them go out begging. When they fall sick, they don’t get medical attention, they become social misfit, they become sources of embarrassment on the street and in the environment.
“You find old people on the street, they become homeless trying to fix their lives. Nobody should think that Allah will be happy seeing all these. When these people have at least children or human beings in the neigbourhood. The duty of the religious authority is to take care of the old people in community whether they are people of your faith or not.
“If any old person prays in your community, the Sunnah is to look for this person when he doesn’t come for prayers at anytime. Whenever the person fails to show up, the imam personally should go visiting or send somebody in the community to visit the person so that Welfare of the people in our mosque is the responsibility of the Muslim community not that of the children that may not be around.
“If they have children, it is also the responsibility of the Muslim community to make sure that the children take care of their parents and their old people. If they have relation, it is the responsibility of the Muslim community to ensure that their relations take care of them. If all these fail, the Muslim authority should take this responsibility as personally divine responsibility that Allah as imposed on them.”