NASIR El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State has warned that parents who enroll their children into the Almajiri system of education in the state risk two-year jail term.
El-Rufai issued the stern warning when he visited some 200 Almajiri children that were repatriated from Nasarawa State to Kaduna and are undergoing rehabilitation at Government College, Kurmin Mashi.
While noting that the repatriated Almajirai are citizens of Kaduna State, the governor stated that the the state government would give them all the opportunities that they deserve to grow and develop.
He expressed satisfaction with the ongoing transformation of the Almajiri pupils from hopelessness to hope and confidence, assuring that the state would do whatever it can to give them a better future.
“We will, therefore, continue to take delivery of every Almajiri pupils indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrolment into formal schools nearest to where their parents live,” he said.
“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.”
El-Rufai said that the ultimate goal of his administration is for the children 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 who was paid to look after them,” he said.
He explained that the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), along with UNICEF would closely monitor them and ensure that no child would leave his locality until he finishes primary and junior secondary school.
He stressed that every child in Kaduna State must get a 12-year free and compulsory primary and secondary school education, adding that ‘those that cannot proceed to senior secondary school will have the opportunity to go to vocational schools, which are also free.’
Similarly, the governor threatened to prosecute any Islamic cleric who enrolls children into an Almajiri school, saying that such clerics will be jailed and fined N100,000 or N200,000 per child.
Abeeb Alawiye formerly works with The ICIR as a Reporter/Social Media officer. Now work as a Senior Journalist with BBC News Yoruba. You can shoot him an email via Abeeb.firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @habsonfloww