One of the women whose children were among the 300 persons rescued from an Islamic Centre last Thursday at Rigasa in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Malama, says there is nothing wrong with the condition under which the children were learning at the centre, in this interview with GODWIN ISENYO
How did you feel taking your son to that school?
My son was 12 years-old when I took him to the school and he has been there for four years. The boy is always happy to return to the school. He has never complained about the allegations levelled against the school.
You were among the women that protested against the action of the police, even as it was clear to many Nigerians that your son and other rescued children were learning under a horrible condition. Why did you protest?
I joined the protest because my son had never complained about being abused or tortured. In fact, I have been going to see him at school, but I have never heard him complain that he and other children were being tortured. Not even the police can tell me how close I am to my child.
But the police accused the school authorities of abusing the children and keeping them under a dehumanising condition. What’s your take on this?
These are all lies. What the police do not know is that the school ensures that the children are regularly examined by a team of doctors so that none of them will fall sick. So what are they telling us? Do the police love the children more than their parents? We took our children there and we are okay with how they are being rehabilitated.
What about the allegation that the children were subjected to corporal punishment during school?
What the police said about the school and its proprietor were lies. Let me remind the governor of Kaduna State that, as a Muslim, one day he will be required to give account of all his actions before Allah. He should help us to rescue the proprietor from the police. The state government has never assisted the school with a penny. So why is it disturbing us?
Will you return your child to the centre for rehabilitation, in spite of what happened?
Why not? I will take him back to school. I am also a former pupil of the school. We have a female section where married women who want to study the Qur’an are enrolled. If the school is bad, I should also know that. In fact, we are eager to return the kids to the school as soon as we are reunited with them.
Some of the children claimed they were sexually abused. Did you ever receive such complaint from your child?
Are those who are talking about torture in the school trying to say that they don’t punish their own children for doing wrong? To be frank with you, if you knew how the boy used to behave as a child, even the government would not have handled him better than the school. Like I said before, these are all lies. We are all going to die one day and we will account for our deeds.
What words do you have for the police?
We want the commissioner of police to know that he will also account for all his deeds on earth. We are ready to embark on special prayers against all those who raided the school.
Do you think the police are justified in holding on to the people they arrested?
Only God knew how I felt before we agreed to take my son to that school. The boy’s lifestyle and waywardness, even at such a tender age, almost killed me. But since we took him there, he has been living a normal life. Any time he comes home, we are always happy to see him reformed. The Imam is doing a good job. So, how can they justify his arrest?
Would you also call for the release of your child’s teachers and six others in police custody?
Yes and this is because the proprietor of the school is only helping us to reform our children, based on Islamic teaching. Let them release all of our Imams to continue with their good work.