The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, has warned parents against enrolling their wards into the almajiri system, noting anyone caught engaging in such practice may end up in jail.
The governor stated this on Monday when he visited some almajiri children repatriated from Nasarawa state, and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna.
According to him, 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.
His words: “We will, therefore, continue to take delivery of every almajiri pupil indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrollment 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.”
To ensure the effectiveness of the new directive, the governor said the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) would closely monitor the progress of the children and ensure that none of them leaves their locality until the completion of primary and junior secondary school.
He went on to reiterate his government’s commitment to giving quality education to children in the state, adding that every child must get 12-year free and compulsory primary and secondary school education.
He added: “Those that cannot proceed to senior secondary school will have the opportunity to go to vocational school, also free. As such, no parent has any excuse for his child not to go to school.”