The Bauchi State Government says it has re-united 176 Almajiris apprehended by security agents in Jos with their families.
Zubairu Madaki, the Bauchi State Commissioner for Youth and Sport, made this known in Bauchi on Wednesday as the children were being conveyed to their respective states and council areas.
“Some days ago, we were directed by the state governor to take custody of some almajiris that were intercepted in Plateau but later handed over to Bauchi Emirate Council.
“We received them in good condition and kept them at the headquarters of the Ministry of Social Welfare for over five days till when their parents could identify and take them home.
“There were about 176 of them from various local governments of the state as well as other neighbouring states,” he said.
Mr. Madaki said that Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State had the highest number with 51 almajiris.
According to him Dambam has 24, Ganjuwa and Ningi have 20 each, Alkeleri, 4, while Misau, Bauchi and Gamawa councils have one child each.
He said that Katsina and Kaduna state had 16 children and 14 children each respectively.
The commissioner said that the children had been handed over to the representatives of either their local government councils or states.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mustapha Aliyu, Chairman of Kirfi Local Government Council described the incident as unfortunate.
“I was very sad when I heard that some of our children were intercepted by the soldiers in Plateau.
“But today I am happy that they have been brought to Bauchi and they were handed over to me.
“I am equally happy the way the children were well taken care of by the Bauchi State government during their five-day stay in Bauchi,” Aliyu said.
He said that the Bauchi State government handed over 51 of the children that were from his local government to him.
The chairman said that investigations conducted revealed that the children were on their way to Southern Kaduna for their yearly Quranic study when they were arrested by security agents in Plateau.
Mr. Aliyu described the movement of the almajiris as lawful as it was the tradition for them to move to different parts of the country for the annual study.
He said that the council had earlier notified the parents of the affected children of their arrival in Kirfi, headquarters of the council and some of them were waiting to take their children.
Ibrahim Yayaji, one of the teachers arrested by security operatives, said that the 51 children from Kirfi were in his custody.
According to him, they are on their way to Jagindi town in Southern Kaduna when the incident occurred.
“We were initially accused of child trafficking but investigations later proved otherwise.
“We are not happy because our school calendar has been distorted but we equally consider it as an act of Allah,” the teacher said.