How 9-year old almajiri boy was convicted for kidnapping in Bauchi – Commissioner

Bauchi State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Child Development, Hajara Gidado,
Bauchi State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Child Development, Hajara Gidado,

 

By ARMSTRONG NI, Bauchi –

 

Bauchi State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Child Development, Hajara Gidado, has narrated how a nine-year old almajiri boy, who kidnapped a seven-year old girl was convicted and has been in juvenile remand for two years.

She said that the almajiri boy whose name she withheld, was brought to Magama Gumau in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State to acquire Quranic and Islamic education from Kano State.

According to her, the boy who went about begging for alms gathered enough money and brought an Android phone with which he learned of kidnapping.

Gidado who was speaking at the opening of a 2-day capacity building training for Tsangaya and Islamiyyah Teachers held at the Conference Hall of the Sa’ad Abubakar Hajj Camp, Bauchi on Tuesday, said that after the almajiri boy kidnapped the girl, he called her father and demanded for the sum of N5 million ransom.

She further said that the boy later returned the girl to her parents since the ransom was not paid and from there, he was arrested and taken to court where he was convicted and has been in remand for two years.

The Commissioner said: “We have a boy at the Bauchi juvenile remand, he’s an almajiri boy that was brought to the State from Kano to acquire islamic education. He was taken to a teacher at Magama Gumau (in Toro LGA).

“The nine year old boy went about begging for alms from house to house and from street to street. From this begging, he was able to gather money and bought an Android phone and started watching movies and eventually watched how kidnapping was being done, he was watching it from Indian-Hausa (Indian movies that have been translated to Hausa language).

“He then went to a particular house to beg for alms and there, he saw a seven year old girl and abducted her and took her to a school there, the school is in Magama town.

“He kept her there in the school and she later became hungry and he too later became hungry. So he told her to wait for him and that he would be back to meet her there. So she waited for him. He went and looked for the phone number of the girl’s father at the house where he picked her up.

“So, he called the father of the girl. He told him: ‘bring N5 million and take your daughter. We are the people that kidnapped your daughter.’ The girl’s father didn’t bring the N5 million. And when he got tired of keeping the girl and it was evening, he took her back to her house.”

Furthermore, she said that: “When he got to their house, he met the girl’s father and when he asked him where he found his daughter, he told the man that, ‘I was the person that kidnapped her’ and he asked him, ‘so, have you now brought her back to me?’ and he said yes. So, he told the boy to wait for him and he did so.

“The man went and reported to the Police and they went and arrested the boy. From the Police Station at Magama, they brought the boy to Bauchi and from there, they took the boy to the court. The court found the boy guilty and sentenced him to children remand.

“Now, the boy has been in the juvenile correctional center for two years now. His parents in Kano were contacted but they refused to come, his Islamic teacher in Magama, also refused to come. The boy has been there (juvenile remand) for two years and so he’s 11 years old now. And if you asked him what crime he has committed, he’ll tell you that he kidnapped a girl. He doesn’t know what kidnapping means.”

She said that “we have many such cases” and pleaded with parents to come into this matter and help the government in training their children because “the government cannot do it alone and I plead with the Islamic teachers, you are the best people that can help us in fighting this menace.”

According to Gidado: “If you go to the children remand here in the State, you’ll find 10 or even more almajiri children there and some of them will even tell you that they don’t know what offense or crime they have committed and he was brought there. Some will tell you that they went begging and they saw food and they took it and ate without the people giving it to him and the Police arrested him.

“We’re doing our best and the wife of the Governor is also doing her best to bring an end to these problems but we can’t achieve that except we get the adequate cooperation of everyone especially the Islamic teachers. We also call on the State House of Assembly to come into this issue and intervene so that we can bring an end to exploitation of these children.

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