OPINION: On the prevalence of Bet9ja gambling in Borno

Opinion, April 19, 2017, 9:00am By Umar Umar Bolori

This State of ours (Borno) has been suffering from "fitnah" (crises) for the past 7-8 years due to the insurgency. Within this period, tens of thousands of people lost their lives; more than a million were displaced; hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs and as a result, the rate of poverty in the State has risen to an unprecedented level.

However, as far as Islam is concerned, it's unanimously and universally agreed that one of the ways out of this "fitnah" is for all of us to, among other things, repent to Allah swt and seek His forgiveness as well as His spiritual intervention and guidance, because only by doing so can we get rid of the current disaster our people have been suffering from.

But unfortunately opposite is the case, as almost 70-80% of our youths are now engaged in a newly introduced football gambling, 9ja Bet, in which a person predicts the results of 5-6 football matches that are yet to be played by putting N100-N200 or N500. If he/she guesses the results correctly he/she ends up winning some certain amount of money.

The owners of such gambling places have now opened about twenty to thirty branches both known and unknown around the state city. Our youths who we consider to be the leaders of the next generation are gradually transforming into gamblers. The future of our state is getting dark and dark again and nobody seems to care about that.

It is very annoying that when I pass through such places I see primary and secondary school students in their uniforms playing Bet9ja, and this is a great threat to the education of our children. Every critical thinker knows that gambling encourages theft, burglary, and enmity among other things. And as an educationist, I know that such activities discourages children from going to school.

I wonder why our leaders choose to remain silent seeing our state heading into yet another unproductive ventures. This is a supposed to be a state where hundreds of thousands of parents all over Nigeria are known for sending their kids to learn the Holy Qur'an and Islamic values over the years. Where are those values today? I also ask my self why would our government even try to demolish some shops and chaos in the state where our fellow indigenes run their normal businesses to get something to feed their families if they can't even close these places of gambling. I really wonder so much.

Allah swt has warned the Prophet (SAW) against dangers involved in gambling in a number of occasions in the Glorious Qur'an. Allah swt quoted to have said: "They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say, 'In them is GREAT SIN" (Qur'aan 2:19).

He (SWT) also warned the believers in yet another verse by saying: "O believers! Intoxicants and gambling, worshipping stones and divination by arrows are impure of shaytan's handiwork: refrain from such abomination that ye may prosper." (Qur'aan 5:90).

Therefore, going by these Qur'anic verses, one can simply realize the fact that any society that are involved in such abominable activities are directly testing the patience of Allah swt.

If care is not taken, and stringent efforts are devised to checkmate these developments, we may witness yet another disastrous anarchy, a situation where we will have thousands of our youths dropped out of schools and I think we are all aware of the consequences if that happens.

May Allah swt guide us to the right path.