Private Islamic Schools Found to be ‘Place of Human Slavery’ in Nigeria
A horrendous scene was found last week in the city of Kaduna, Nigeria when police raided a Koranic reform school. Upon entry, inhumane conditions were discovered at the Islamic school, reported by AFP:
Hundreds of men and boys — some reportedly aged as young as five — held in atrocious conditions at a facility proprietors described as a religious school and rehabilitation centre.
Inmates were discovered chained to metal railings and with their hands and feet shackled together. Some bore scars from alleged beatings while others recounted being sexually abused.
The raid on this particular school comes after revelations that have “shone a spotlight on Islamic institutes unregulated by the authorities.” The Islamic schools are common across northern Nigeria where poverty levels are high and are known locally as Almajiri schools. “Authorities have estimated that there are more than nine million students enrolled at the institutions.”
Activists have consistently tried to push the Nigerian government to reform or end the Almajiri schools system, but to no avail. “In June Nigeria’s presidency said that it wanted ultimately to ban the schools — but insisted it would not be doing so anytime soon for fear of creating ‘panic or a backlash.”
In light of findings after the recent raid, there appears to be a sliver of hope. A statement was released by the office of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim himself from northern Nigeria, who called the facility “a house of torture and a place of human slavery.”