The Niger State Government has repatriated 104 almajirai intercepted at the entrance of Minna to Sokoto State.
The Director-General, Child Right Agency, Maryam Kolo, who made this known in Minna on Monday, revealed that the almajirai were between the ages of four and 10, and made the trip from Sokoto to Minna in a truck.
She described the means of transporting the almajirai on such a long distance in the harmattan cold as wicked and callous.
Kolo expressed shock that despite the measures put in place by the government to prevent such incidents, some people still found ways of sneaking children into the state under the pretext of getting them educated.
“We are being very proactive. We are very shocked that someone would come into the state with 104 children all the way from Sokoto State to Niger State under the guise of sending them to an Islamic school without any provision for food or funds,” she stated.
The DG reaffirmed that the state government’s position on the ban on almajirai and street begging was still valid, adding that it was inhuman to allow a four-year-old to travel long distances to acquire Islamic knowledge.
“I find it sad that parents will release children as young as four years to be taken to a far destination just to learn Islamic education. We are not against Islamic education, but what we are saying is that the rights of the children have to be secured and assured,” Kolo said.
During interrogation, an adult in whose custody the children were found said they were coming from Illela in Sokoto State, adding that he was bringing the children into Niger State to acquire Islamic education.
He said that there was an Islamic centre at Angwan Biri in the Bosso Local Government Area of the state, where the boys would reside and be educated. (Punch)