Kaduna govt arrests Islamic cleric for keeping young girls as almajirai
An Islamic cleric, Aliyu Maikwari has been arrested in Zaria, Kaduna State following the discovery that he was keeping girls as young as 8 and 10 years as almajiri.
Commissioner for Human Development and Social Services, Hajiya Hafsat Baba announced the arrest in an interaction with journalists on Tuesday.
According to her, the cleric’s arrest was in furtherance of the Nasir el-Rufai administration’s operation to evacuate almajirai from the state and send them back to their parents to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
She disclosed that the state government had successfully evacuated 327 out of 500 children found in the house Maikwari used to accommodate the children in his almajirai school.
Hajiya Baba added that 17 out of the evacuated children were found to be girls aged 8 to 10 years.
She noted that the young girls were mixed up with older boys in the same house against the teaching of Islam.
Hajiya Baba said, “When I was told I couldn’t believe it until I saw the pictures. Young girls of not more than eight to 10 years were mixed up with these boys.
“We were able to evacuate 327 out of the 500 children in the house. Because he was so stubborn we had to use operatives of ‘Operation Yaki’ to arrest him.
“We also understand that he gives out these girls for marriage. He is now under investigation in Kaduna.”
The Herald recalls that Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha recently expressed concern about the almajirai system in the North.
Mustapha, who spoke on Monday, said that the almajiris must be turned into productive citizens or the nation could have a time-bomb on its hands.