A house with over 300 chained children and adults under custody in Rigasa community, Igabi local government area of Kaduna state has been raided by the police, with the inmates rescued.
Some of the captives according to the force are from Burkina Faso, Mali and other African countries. Among the inmates are male children who complained of being abused sexually.
The elderly also complained of being subjected to daily recitation of the Holy Quran and prayers with torture.
With chains on their legs and scars of injuries from torture, they disclose that Thursday evening’s raid of the place is liberation from slavery.
Bello Hamza, a 42 years old inmates said, he was tricked to the centre by his family who are interested in taking over his share of their inheritance.
In his words: “I have spent three months here with chains on my legs. I’m supposed to be pursuing my masters in University of Pretoria South Africa. I got admission to study applied mathematics, but here I’m chained. They claim to be teaching us Quran and Islam, but they do a lot of things here. They subject the younger ones to homosexuality.
“This is supposed to be an Islamic centre, but trying to run away from here attracts severe punishment; they tie people and hang them to the ceiling for that, but engaging in homosexuality attracts no punishment.
“Within my short stay here, somebody had died as a result of torture. Others have died before my coming due to poor health and torture. They give us very poor food and we only eat twice a day; 11:00am and 10:00pm. They have denied me a lot of things here. I am a family man, I have responsibilities, but I am chained here not knowing what is happening to my family members.”
Kaduna state Police Commissioner, Ali Aji Janga told reporters at the house that, “we received an information that something is going on in this rehabilitation centre or Islamic center. So, I sent my DPO here to check what was going on. On getting here, we discovered that, this is neither a rehabilitation centre or Islamic school.
“You can see it yourself that, small children, some of whom are brought from neighbouring African countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and others and from across Nigeria. Most of them are even chained. These people are being used, dehumanized. You can see it yourself.
“The man who is operating this home claimed that, parents brought their children here for rehabilitation. But, from the look of things this is not a rehabilitation centre. No reasonable parent will bring his children to this place. So, we are going to investigate them and get to the root of the matter.
“We will find out the real motive behind this centre, and if they are found wanting they will be charged to court. But first, we are evacuating all the people from this place to our station and we will make announcement for parents to come and recover their children,” he said.
Meanwhile, the proprietor of the centre simply identified as Malam said, all they do in the centre is teach people Islam. “All those allegations of torture, dehumanization and homosexuality are false and mere allegations. We do nothing here other than teaching people Islam.
“They don’t do anything other than, recitation of Qur’an, pray and worship God. Those chained are the stubborn ones who attempt running away. Those who don’t attempt running away are not chained. Some were chained before and after settling down, they were freed. Most of them were brought by their parents from across the country and others from outside the country.”
Meanwhile, at the end of the raid, the inmates were evacuated from the premises in about 15 mini buses to the Kaduna Police headquarters.