A Joint Task Force of security personnel comprising the army, the police and other paramilitary officers raided the residence of a prominent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi in Kaduna which also serves as the scholar’s Qur’anic school and arrested 160 students around midnight Wednesday 13/01/2021. Again the same Joint Task Force raided another Qur’anic school of the Imam of Nasarawa Juma’at mosque in the middle of the night on Saturday 16/01/2021. Reports reaching us have confirmed that on Monday similar operations were also carried out in Zaria city.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria condemns this brazen use of force on innocent unarmed citizens by the Kaduna state government considering the fact that the state government’s action has arbitrarily declared the students of such Qur’anic schools, popularly called Almajirai as criminals and persona non grata, while in reality they are not and cannot be.
We believe whosoever authorized and executed this attack did not follow due process, since the victims are underage causing them to become traumatised, more so, they were not shown any arrest warrant as required by law, hence he is also a criminal and enemy of Qur’an. Their handlers were not notified of the impending attack nor told where their wards were taken to until some days after. Though we are not surprised by the action of Elrufa’i’s government, we believed it should have done better by going about the project in a civilized manner, but it did not.
Though the Kaduna state government says its Task Force was enforcing Covid-19 related regulations and rescued almajiri children from Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi’s residence for violating the state’s school closure regulations, land use act and policy of repatriation of almajiri to their states, we believe it is being economical with the truth. If Covid-19 protocols are still vague in town, why are mosques and markets still open and schools are about to resume in the next few weeks?
Another plausible reason behind this unwanted attack on Qur’anic schools put forward by KDSG was that since March 2020 when Northern Governors Forum decided to jointly end the abuses associated with the Almajiri system, the state government had repatriated 31,092 almajiri children to their states of origin. If that is the case, why is the KDSG action different from that of other Northern states? While in other states Qur’anic schools are being supported by their state governments, in Kaduna state they are being persecuted and branded as criminals. In other states the Islamic schools are being reformed and some relevant subjects of the formal education are introduced in such schools, but it is different in Kaduna state which is persecuting them and acting sectarian. One may therefore ask as to why the enmity towards the Qur’an?
We hereby call on Governor Elrufa’i to rescind his decision to forcefully obliterate all the Qur’anic schools in the state and leave them alone. We believe it is counterproductive in the long run and unjust. He should learn from his counterparts in other Northern states how they are curbing the government created menace of the Almajiri system of education.
Having said that, we will like to use this opportunity to draw the attention of the world to another injustice perpetrated by Kaduna state government, which is the continued detention of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who is now in his sixth year in detention facing bogus charges in a Kaduna state high court, after the federal government refused to obey a court order freeing him from detention. We still demand for his immediate unconditional release and that of his wife and others still in detention since the Zaria massacre by the Army in December, 2015.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM
ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA