The crackdown intensified pressure on President Mohammadu Buhari to strengthen oversight of traditional private schools known as Almagiris, which teach millions of children in the country's predominantly Muslim north.
Authorities released 147 students from an establishment on Saturday in Kaduna State. Students wearing burgundy uniforms were taken to a camp where police assessed their condition and contacted family members.
"No responsible democratic government would tolerate the existence of torture cells and physical violence against prisoners in the name of victim rehabilitation," Buhari spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement Saturday.
police to carry out the attacks, officers failed to announce changes to the policy of tightening the facilities.
0 million children attend Islamic schools in Nigeria, which have been the road to conversion for centuries Teachers need to promote discipline, peace and humility, and part of the education may include begging for money on the street.
Some parents pay for their children to memorize the Koran, others hope religious leaders will help the youth with drug addictions and mental illness in areas lacking official health care.
But police action revealed what appeared to be a system operation.
"The more people rely on them, the more brutal they become," says Isa Sanusi, a spokesman for Amnesty International in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Three days before the Kaduna attack, authorities rescued 500 people from an Islamic school in Katsina, which is billed as a rehabilitation program for young people with behavioral problems.
Rescued men and boys were nailed to walls, struck with walking sticks and often hungry in packed rooms, officials said. Some report persistent sexual abuse.
They were "subjected to all forms of dehumanization," police spokesman Sanusi Buba told Voice of America.
On October 12, police released 67 men and boys from a similar facility in the same northwestern state. The photos showed victims without shirts sitting on the ground, some with chains around their necks.
"They just beat us, abuse us and punish us every day [in] the name that teaches us," 33-year-old Loudal Ahmad tells Reuters. "They don't teach us for God's sake."
And on September 27, authorities discovered 500 men and boys living in what Kaduna police chief Ali Jiang called the BBC a "torture house", causing
children up to five years old to be held in chains, they said employees. Police released a photo of a boy with scars on his back and hands.
Enrollment in religious education has increased as parents, who often cannot afford elementary school fees, look for alternatives that seem respectable on the surface, said Matthew Page, a fellow at the Africa House Program at Chatham House in London.
It's hard to know how widespread the problem is, he said, because data is scarce and surveillance is light.
"There is this absence of state," he says, "when it comes to effectively regulating entities such as these schools."
Over the years, some Nigerians have repulsed popular schools, claiming that they do not. . I do not prepare children for the modern economy, says John Campbell, a former US ambassador to Nigeria.
"But they still provide some measure of food and education," he said, "for over 10 million students who would otherwise have little access to any."