Photo Credits: Platinum Intervention
Nigerian police rescued boys and men from "inhumane and degrading treatments" at an Islamic school.
The religious school, which also served as a rehabilitation center, was run by a 78-year-old Muslim cleric in Daura. Authorities visited the school on Monday, a day after students protested about their welfare. They tipped off the police about the conditions in the facility, Katsina police state spokesman Isah Gambo told CNN. The school owner and two teachers have been arrested for their roles in the abuse.
The pupils, whose ages range from 7 to 40, said they were denied food for days and beaten with chains by the teachers in the school, Gambo said. Others also said they had been molested and sexually abused during their stay at the school, he said.
"Some of them said they were beaten almost every morning, if you see their abdomen and some parts of their body, there were so many marks of cane. They were not given food on time, the shelter was inadequate, and some said they were sexually abused," Gambo told CNN.
"Parents take their recalcitrant children to these schools to rehabilitate and for them to learn the Quran because they have no other option, but that's not an excuse to violate their rights," Gambo said.
As CNN reports, parents in northern Nigeria, where access to formal education is still a challenge due to poverty and social beliefs, often send their children to Islamic schools called Almajiri. Almajiri derives from an Arabic word, rendered "al-Muhajirun" in English transliteration, meaning a person who leaves his home in search of Islamic knowledge. In June, President Buhari, who is Muslim, said his government plans to ban Almajiri schools, but will not do so until authorities have met with stakeholders in the education sector.
In this case, which some news reports say involved more than 70 victim-students, at least one of them has spoken out forcefully against it. Rabiu Umar, one of those rescued, said he was “treated like an animal” at the religious boarding facility, according to the BBC.
“Every day they would give me 30 lashes, 10 in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the night. I was tortured, I was deprived, I was beaten, I was treated like an animal,” he said.
Parents who send their children to these schools believe that they would receive Islamic education and they actually pay for them to stay there. According to Rabiu Umar, they don’t even pray there and they aren’t treated like human.
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