Nigerian police on Saturday freed nearly 150 students from a purported school in northern Nigeria. The school authorities had claimed they were teaching the Koran to the students but they had instead subjected them to abuse.
The latest raid on the Islamic reform school in Rigasa was ordered by Kaduna state governor Nasir El Rufai ordered. The captives were taken to a nearby camp, standing in lines in maroon uniforms as state officials tended to them.
In an interview with Reuters, Hafsat Baba, Kaduna’s commissioner for human services said unlike the other schools, at least 22 of the 147 released captives were female this time. As per the report, the school was owned by the same man who owned one of the schools raided in neighboring Katsina state last week and had already been arrested by police. The students, who were freed from other schools over the last month, including two this week, were chained to walls, beaten and sexually molested.
This is the fourth such raid in a month and brings the total number of students released from religious schools in northern Nigeria to over 1,000. In September, more than 300 men and boys were rescued in a raid on an Islamic school in the northern city of Kaduna.
The raid has put more pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to take action on loosely regulated Islamic schools called Almajiris, which experts say teach millions of children across the mainly Muslim north of the country.
In June, Buhari said that he planned to ban Almajiris eventually. His government has not yet taken any action in this regard.
“No responsible democratic government would tolerate the existence of the torture chambers and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation of the victims,” Buhari’s office said in a statement issued on Saturday.