Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has warned that parents who enroll their children in the Almajiri education system stand the risk of prosecution and two years imprisonment.
The governor stated this when he visited 200 Almajiri children repatriated from Nasarawa State and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna, on Monday May 25.
Almajiri is ideally a system of Islamic education practiced in northern Nigeria, where young children leave their homes to live with Islamic scholars and learn about the religion.
However, the system has over the years been corrupted with thousands of such children roaming the streets begging for alms and food, and without any form of education.
Speaking during the visit, the governor said any Islamic cleric who enrolls any child into the Almajiri system would also be prosecuted, jailed, and fined N100,000 or N200,000 per child.
The governor while expressing his delight at the rehabilitation of the repatriated Almajiris, 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 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.” he said.