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Buhari Condemns Abuse of Children in Kaduna ‘Islamic Home’

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the reported abuse of children at a Islamic Home in Kaduna, where about 300 people were rescued by the police.

According to a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Saturday, President Buhari condemned all forms of abuses, whether of adults or children.

While commending the efforts of the police for the discovery and subsequent arrest of operators of the horrific hub, the president said all children must be safeguarded and protected from all evil influences in the society.

The statement reads, “In commending the police for discovering this horrific hub and arrest of suspected operators of the unedifying, so-called “reform institution,” the administration of President Buhari categorically condemns rights abuses, whether of adults or children.

“We are glad that Muslim authorities have dismissed the notion of the embarrassing and horrifying spectacle as Islamic school. “The place has indeed been described as a house of torture and place of human slavery.

“The president holds the view that children will be safeguarded from roaming the streets and protected from all evil influences that assail idle hands and minds when they are sent to school.

“When he inaugurated the National Economic Council for 2019/2023 at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Buhari warned that keeping children away from school is a criminal offence. He also stressed the need to take seriously and enforce the statutory provisions on free and compulsory basic education.

“He cited Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which he says places on all of us – public leaders and political office holders – an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.

“Section 2 of the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.

“It is indeed a crime, he stressed, for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period.”

The president said his administration had introduced a number of programmes, including school feeding, which is now in 32 states in the country, with 9.8 million children in its roll. He said the school feeding programme was meant to encourage school enrolment and enhance the health and learning capabilities of pupils. President Buhari maintained that “state and local governments are obliged under the law to ensure that every child of school age goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education.”

The president enjoined religious and traditional authorities to partner with the three tiers of government to check the menace of what he described as ‘unwanted cultural practices.’

He said: ‘‘To stop unwanted cultural practices that amount to the abuse of children, our religious and traditional authorities must work with the federal, state and local governments to expose and stop all types of abuse that are widely known but ignored for many years by our communities.’’

The Police, on Thursday, raided the school and removed the over 300 children in 15 Danfo buses to the Kaduna Police Command headquarters. Police authorities alleged that the children were being kept in dehumanising conditions, cramped in rooms, with some of them in chains, while others had big scars and injuries on their bodies, which must have come from torture.

There were also allegations of sexual abuse. Briefing newsmen after the raid, the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State command, CP Ali Aji Janga, said they acted based on information that something wrong was going on at the said rehabilitation centre.

The ages of the children range from five to 18, with some of them brought to the centre from neighbouring African countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, others, said authorities. But parents of some of the rescued children, Friday protested, denying that they were subjected to dehumanising treatments, and called on the police to release them.

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