Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Kaduna State, has expressed sadness over the death of an Almajirai boy who drowned while being allegedly hidden by his 74-year-old Malam, Umar Musa Mai Kalanzir, somewhere in Kaduna.
In the wake of the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the state government had announced the closure of all schools, including Tsangaya (Islamic) schools and had directed that all Almajiri be returned to their parents, a development that had led to evacuation of over 5,000 Almajiri from Kaduna town.
The commissioner, who made this known on Monday via her tweeter handle @HafsatMohBaba, revealed that the little boy drowned in a river after his Malam hid them from the Task Force team.
According to her, “we regret to announce that in carrying out our operations of ensuring that Tsangaya schools adhered to the school closure order, our worst fear has happened with the demise of one Almajiri who drowned in a river after his Malam had hidden them from the taskforce team.
“However, some Alaramma have refused to comply with this order or present their pupils for evacuation. To escape our operations, some have resorted to hiding their pupils, including locking them up in small rooms or taking them to remote locations away from the Tsangaya.
“KDSG feared that this may endanger the pupils and has been deploying strategies to save these pupils. Alaramma Umar Musa Mai Kalanzir claimed he had sent all his pupils back to their parents. Alas, this tragic event showed otherwise. The @elrufai led KDSG will prosecute him.
“Operatives of the state taskforce have since effected the arrest of Umar Mai Kalanzir and have started investigations. We will prosecute the Alaramma and seek the maximum punishment ascribed by the law for his crimes. This will not be allowed to go unpunished.
“Going forward, we will double down on all operators of these Tsangaya as no life is unimportant to us. The KDSG will not allow children’s lives to be endangered. By this statement, any Alaramma caught attempting to hid his pupils will be arrested and prosecuted immediately.
“The KDSG will also release guidelines of the minimum requirements to operate a Tsangaya in Kaduna State. This has been in the works but with current findings, no one will be allowed to operate a Tsangaya in the state until full compliance to these minimums are ensured,” she threatened.