Muhammadu Buhari to crackdown on abusive Islamic schools


Nigeria’s president on Tuesday ordered a crackdown on abuse at Islamic schools, after a second police raid in less than a month revealed men and boys subjected to beatings, abuse and squalid conditions.

Nearly 300 had been held captive at a school in the Daura area of Katsina, the home town of President Muhammadu Buhari, where police said they discovered “inhuman and degrading treatment” following a raid on Monday to free the remaining students.

Late last month, police freed hundreds from similarly degrading conditions in neighbouring Kaduna state.


“Mr President has directed the police to disband all such centres and all the inmates be handed over to their parents,” said a presidential spokesman.

“The government cannot allow centres where people, male and female, are maltreated in the name of religion,” he said.

Prior to this week’s raid, hundreds of captives had escaped the centre, police said on Tuesday.


The 67 inmates who were freed by Katsina police were shackled, and many were taken to hospital for treatment, Police Superintendent Isah Gambo told Reuters.

“I tell you they were in very bad condition when we met them,” Gambo said.

A freed captive told Reuters on Monday that the instructors beat, raped and even killed some of the men and boys held at the facility, who ranged from seven to 40 years of age. It was not immediately possible to verify his account.

While the institution told parents it was an Islamic teaching centre that would help straighten out wayward family members, the instructors instead brutally abused them and took away any food or money sent by relatives.

Police said they had arrested the owner of the facility and two teachers, and were tracking other suspects.

The more than 200 captives who escaped were still missing, Gambo said. Police were working to reunite the others with family members.

“The inmates are actually from different parts of the country — Kano, Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau States,” he said.

“Some of them are not even Nigerians. They come from Niger, Chad and even Burkina Faso and other countries.”

Islamic schools, called almajiris, are common in the mostly Muslim north of Nigeria.

Muslim Rights Concern, a local organisation, estimates about 10 million children attend them.

Buhari said the government planned to ban the schools eventually, but he has not yet commented on the Katsina school. —Al Jazeera

the group would file a claim in London’s High Court for a judicial review of the decision if their letter went unanswered.

“Criminalising anyone who wishes to protest in any way against the climate and ecological emergency in London is disproportionate and an unprecedented curtailment of the right to protest and the right to free speech and free assembly,” Garnett told Al Jazeera.

Defying the ban, activists on Tuesday afternoon gathered in front of the headquarters of MI5, the United Kingdom’s domestic intelligence agency, for a protest aimed at drawing attention to the risks to food security posed by climate change.

More than a dozen police vehicles were parked on Millbank along the northern bank of the Thames as a couple of hundred activists blocked the road. Police slowly proceeded to remove a dozen of them who had glued or locked themselves to a caravan.

Activists headed to the protest were being stopped and searched nearby.

“Everybody is just being peaceful. The amount of police is just over the top,” Jane Niece, a 53-year-old radiographer who had come from Nottingham for the day, told Al Jazeera.

“I thought we were living in a free country. It’s not free if we’re not allowed to protest peacefully, to wear our badges. They will stop you, and people have been searched,” she added.

More than 1,450 people have been arrested since the protests restarted eight days ago, according to police figures.

Amnesty International condemned the blanket ban on the climate group’s protests as an “unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”. — Al Jazeera

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