Any parent in Kaduna State that enrolls their children into the Almajiri education system stands the risk of prosecution and up to two years jail.
Governor Nasril El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State.
Governor Nasril El-Rufa’i stated this in Kaduna on Monday when he visited some 218 Almajiri children repatriated from Nasarawa State and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna.
Almajiri are children enrolled to be taught Islamic knowledge under Islamic Clerics, but who loiter on the streets with bowls begging for alms and food.
Governor El-Rufai said all the 218 Almajirai repatriated from neighboring states and tested negative for COVID-19 will be enrolled in primary schools in the state.
No fewer than 680 Almajirai were repatriated from Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe and Niger States into Kaduna, according to the state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Baba.
The Commissioner had said over 200 Almajirai out of the 680 were discharged after completion of the 14 days quarantine period.
The governor also said any Islamic cleric who enrolls any child into the Almajiri system would also be prosecuted and jailed as well as fined N100,000 or N200,000 per child.
He said all the Almajiri pupils repatriated from other states of the country were indigenes of the state adding that the government would give them all the opportunity they deserved to grow and develop.
Gov. El-Rufai expressed satisfaction with the ongoing transformation of the Almajiri pupils from hopelessness to hope and confidence.
He said the state has a responsibility to do whatever it can to give them hope and a better future.
“We will, therefore, continue to take delivery of every Almajiri pupil indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrolment into formal school nearest to where their parents live.
“We will continue to do this until we clear Kaduna state of the menace of Almajiri system, which is not education but the abuse of the privilege and future of a child.
“Our ultimate goal is for them to acquire formal education without depriving them of the opportunity to acquire Quranic education.
“They will continue their Quranic education but under the care of their parents and not under someone who does not know them or paid to look after them.”
According to the governor, the next step is for the Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba and her team to return the Almajirai to their parents in collaboration with Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers.
El-Rufai said, “With the support of UNICEF, Nigeria; AMA Foundation, other NGOs & philanthropists, they are being restored full human rights as children, dignity & hope!
“Every child in Kaduna has equal opportunity and access to 12 years of Free and Compulsory Education in our public schools.
“All the children are to be compulsorily enrolled in the primary school nearest to them so they have modern education and life skills in the morning, and continue their Quranic or Islamic education in the afternoon and over the weekend.
“That is how many of us got our education. That is what the Northern States Governors’ Forum decided. These children may the future of Northern Nigeria.”
“As such, no parent has any excuse for his child not to go to school,” Gov. El-Rufa’i said.