In 2019, security agents raided a Daura rehabilitation centre, following the revolt of some inmates which led to the discovery of many children who were chained and subjected to dehumanizing treatment.
Subsequently, the centre was sealed and hundreds of inmates were rescued while the proprietor, alongside two of his sons, were taken to court.
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However, two years later, Arewa Trust Weekly visited the centre again and it was observed that the almajiri school is fully functional but rehabilitation services are no longer rendered.
The proprietor of the school, Malam Bello Abdullahi, popularly called Mallam Bello Mai Almajirai, said his school has reopened but no longer admits wayward children.
Malam Mai Almajirai, 80, told Arewa Trust Weekly that his decision was in compliance with government directives.
“They said we should not keep such children again, so we don’t accept them any longer. Some of the children were drug addicts, some so recalcitrant that they either threatened to kill their parents or other people,” he said.
Narrating why he kept the children before the 2019 raid, Malam Mai Almajirai said all inmates were kept with the consent of their parents or guardians. He said the centre did its best to rehabilitate them through prayers, confinement and memorization of the Qur’an.
“If we had left the children unconfined, they would run away. That was why we had to chain them for some time, while we prayed for them and taught them the Qur’an until they were reasonably reformed and then we set them free to either their parents or allow them to continue with their qur’anic studies,” he said.
Malam Mai Almajirai said the centre was accused of promoting sodomy and other evils in a bid to demonize him, adding that it was the handiwork of those he described as “enemies of progress.”
He said his centre was registered and had operated for many years and so it became famous such that recalcitrant children were brought from Ivory Coast, Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon for rehabilitation.
“Through the support of Allah and the parents of the children, we were living moderate lives and contented. With that, we didn’t have to go out to beg for anything and that generated hatred and jealousy in the minds of those who orchestrated the raid,” he said.
Malam Bello, who claimed that he had received awards for his correctional works from past governments in the state and popular figures, said he spent two days in police custody after the 2019 raid.
After his trial in 2019, he said he had been blessed immensely, adding that in 2020, a philanthropist built an Islamic centre comprising a Juma’at mosque and a Qur’an memorization (Tahfeez) school for him. “After speaking with the Emir of Daura, the state government also gave its approval. “As we speak, the project has been completed and inaugurated last month,” he said.
Some of the residents of the area who spoke to Arewa Trust Weekly confirmed that children are no longer chained at the centre.