As the authorities cracked down on children torture homes in Kaduna and Katsina states, proprietors of similar centres in Kano are shutting them down and dismissing the students to escape the wrath of the authorities.
The proprietor of the oldest Qur’anic rehabilitation centres in the state, located in Sharifai community in Kano Metropolis, Ibrahim Alhajiji, said the gory details that emerged from centres in Kaduna and Katsina and the action of the authorities guided their decision to shut down.
But he defended the work of his centre.
“This centre, established about two centuries ago, has rehabilitated and impacted Qur’anic knowledge in thousands of children and adults from Nigeria and neighbouring countries.”
He said the children were always brought to the centre by their parents.
“Closing the centre was the most challenging action for us the proprietors and parents of the children who are now calling us across states day and night to reconsider the decision and recall the students,” Mr Alhajiji told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday at his office located at the now deserted centre in Kano.
He said before the shutdown, the school had 70 inmates from Nigeria, Cameroun and Niger Republic.
However, this reporter observed a few students from the community at the premises in routine Qur’anic recitation. The students were not chained and an official said it was because they are not the stubborn ones.
“Unlike other centres, our school was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and local education authority. There is no child abuse in the centre and we have modern facilities to support in remoulding the inmates.
“The government should intervene to support and monitor the affairs by providing other alternatives,” said the school proprietor who argued that the authorities should not close down the centres.
At Arzai Quranic rehabilitation centre, the proprietor, Aminu Abubakar, in an interview with BBC Hausa on Monday morning said they were ordered to close the centre, after which they invited parents to tell them that the school would no longer operate.
“We’ve dismissed all the inmates, they were over 90. We were not mistreating them, we separated the little ones from the adults. We have six toilets and two boreholes supplying water to the centre.”
However, Mr Abubakar said they chained the inmates on the legs at Arzai rehabilitation centre too, adding, ” but we only beat them as a last resort.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned the ill-treatment of children at the centres.
“On torture chambers, in this day and age, no responsible democratic government would tolerate the existence of torture chambers and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation of the victims.”
The president commended the efforts of the police in exposing human rights abuses by individuals and criminal groups and said he was optimistic that the efforts would be sustained to check illegal activities of such nature.
Mr Buhari appealed to members of the public to remain vigilant and assist security agencies in crime prevention and control by reporting the existence of criminal activities in their communities.