News Analysis

Checking Illegal Detention of Nigerians

Recently in Kaduna State, the police raided the Ahmad bin Hambal Centre for Islamic Teachings in Rigasa, Igabi Local Government Area.

The centre is regarded as a place for imparting morals and education, but what the police met was a number of inmates in dehumanising conditions.

About three hundred men and boys were freed while seven of their teachers were arrested.

Pictures of brutalised inmates, their legs chained to vehicle wheels and a generator, to prevent their escape, was trending on the internet.

Reports by the inmates claimed they were sexually abused and tortured, saying that those who were caught trying to escape were tied to the ceiling and suspended in the air as punishment.

While the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State, Ali Janga, described the home as a house of torture, teachers at the centre said they only taught Islamic education, and that parents and relations willingly brought their children and wards to be trained or healed of their waywardness.

That claim has to be rigorously investigated by the Kaduna State government.

As if this was not enough, at the same time in Ikotun, Lagos State, police rescued nineteen pregnant women and four children from a supposed baby factory.

In June this year, twenty people were rescued by the police at a camp in Agugu area of Ibadan.

The camp had been operating as a spiritual and healing home for those suffering from mental illness.

In March 2014, hundreds of people who were taken hostages by abductors were uncovered at a den in Soka, Ibadan.

The camp was littered with skeletons and decomposing bodies of people who had died as a result of the maltreatment.

A similar case happened in august 2016, when the police rescued thirteen children and fifteen adults locked up in another healing centre at Oke-Ira, in Ogba, Lagos State.

In developed countries, crimes of this nature are severely punished.

The response to this should be immediate, prosecution of the jailors and the parents or guardians who gave out their relatives for illegal detention.

Such was the case involving David and Louise Turpin who were arrested for imprisoning their thirteen children for years in California, United States of America.

The couple were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Nigeria should not be an exception, victims must be served justice. Ignorance or good intention as portrayed by the people who brought their relations to the torture house should never be excused.

It is necessary for state governments to adequately develop, staff, equip and fund their social welfare departments for effective surveillance, public enlightenment and enforcement of related laws.

Utmost priority should be given to the establishment of rehabilitation centres to reintegrate affected persons back in to the society.

Police and other state agencies should deploy intelligence-led surveillance and undercover operatives to monitor suspicious organisations and quickly interdict criminal activities.

Security agencies should set up units in the state police commands to detect nefarious activities and centres with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to justice and to serve as deterrent to others.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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