The presidency has condemned alleged child abuse at Ahmad Bn Hambal Islamiyya School in Rigasa, Igaba Local Government of Kaduna State where over 300 children were evacuated by the police.

Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, in a statement, said free and compulsory education is the panacea to such menace.

Shehu, who hailed the police for their discovery of what he called the “horrific hub and arrest of suspected operators of the unedifying so-called reform institution”, said the administration of President Buhari categorically condemned rights abuses whether of adults or of children.

He said to stop “unwanted cultural practices that amounted to the abuse of children”, religious and traditional authorities must work with the federal, state and local governments to “expose and stop all types of abuse that were widely known but ignored for many years by the communities”.

“We are glad that Muslim authorities have dismissed the notion of the embarrassing and horrifying spectacle as Islamic School.

“The place has indeed been described as a house of torture and a place of human slavery.

“The President holds the view that children will be safeguarded from roaming the streets and protected from all evil influences that assail idle hands and idle minds, when they are sent to school.

“When he inaugurated the National Economic Council for the year 2019/2023 at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, President Buhari warned that keeping children away from school is a criminal offence.

“He also stressed the need to take seriously and enforce the statutory provisions on free and compulsory basic education, citing Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which he says places on all of us ( public leaders and political office holders ) an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.

“He added that “Section 2 of the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.

“It is indeed a crime, he stressed, for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period.

“While the government at the center has introduced a number of programmess, including the school feeding programme, which is now in 32 states in the country, with 9.8 million children in its roll to encourage school enrolment and enhance the health and learning capabilities of pupils, State and local governments are obliged under the law to ensure that every child of school age goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education,” the statement also read.

Our edition on Saturday had reported a mild drama in front of the Ahmad Bn Hambal Islamiyya School in Rigasa, Igaba Local Government of Kaduna State on Friday when parents of the over 300 children evacuated by police called for the release of their children from police custody, saying they see no reason why the police should take their wards away from the school.

The police had, on Thursday, raided the school, and took with them over 300 children in 15 Danfo buses to the Kaduna Police Command headquarters.

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