KADUNA, Nigeria – The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) on Monday accused Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai of targeting Qur’anic schools and clerics in the state.
Ibrahim Musa, IMN spokesman, in a statement, said a Joint Task Force of security personnel comprising the army, the police and other paramilitary officers raided the residence of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi last Wednesday.
He noted that during the raid on the house which also serves as the scholar’s Qur’anic school, 160 students were arrested.
Musa said the same Taskforce raided another Qur’anic school of the Imam of Nasarawa Juma’at mosque “in the middle of the night on Saturday”.
IMN popularly known as Shiites added that similar operations were carried out in Zaria.
The state had ordered that all schools remain shut except Kaduna Polytechnic and National Open University.
But IMN condemned the “brazen use of force on innocent unarmed citizens”.
It said the state government’s action arbitrarily declared the students’ Qur’anic schools (Almajirai) “as criminals and persona non grata”.
IMN said the raid and arrests did not follow due process, “since the victims are underage, more so, they were not shown an arrest warrant as required by law”.
“We are not surprised by the action of Elrufai’s government, we believe it should have done better by going about the project in a civilized manner, but it did not.”
The Shiites cited the government’s explanation that the Northern Governors Forum decided to jointly end the abuses associated with the Almajiri system.
“If that is the case, why is the KDSG action different from that of other Northern states? While in Qur’anic schools are being supported by other governments, they are being persecuted and branded as criminals in Kaduna.
“We hereby call on Governor El Rufai to rescind his decision to forcefully obliterate Qur’anic schools and leave them alone. We believe it is unjust. He should learn from his counterparts in other Northern states how they are curbing the government-created menace of the Almajiri system of education.”
The Shiites reiterated their call for the release of IMN leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, his wife and others still in detention.