Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai, says parents who enroll their children into the Almajiri system may end in jail.
He gave the warning on Monday when he visited some almajiri children repatriated from Nasarawa state, and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna.
El-Rufai added that 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.
The governor also promised the people that the state would continue in its efforts to offer a better future for the children.
“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,” he said.
“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 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.
According to the governor, every child must get 12-year free and compulsory primary and secondary school education.
“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,” he added.
He thanked MHSSD, other state agencies, UNICEF, AMA foundation, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil societies for their support.