MORE than 300 children and youths have been rescued by the Nigerian Police from a small building called “reformation centre” at Sabon Gari area of Daura, Katsina State, where the victims were subjected to abuse, sexual assaults and serious tortures.
This is coming less than three weeks the Police rescued about 500 boys and men from a building in Kaduna where victims were exposed to similar inhuman treatments.
Gambo Isa, Katsina Police spokesperson, who confirmed the discovery to The ICIR on Monday said the small mud house was meant to be a reformation centre for individuals with character deformation. But it had to raid the place after children who “miraculously” fled the centre raised an alarm for excessive abuses.
Isa said some of the rescued people, aged between 7 and 40 years old, were found in chains, some were handcuffed.
The victims had suffered health complications having being subjected to poor sanitation. The children, said Police, were taken to the hospitals immediately to receive prompt medical attention for malnutrition and rashes, among other treatments.
He explained such reformation centres are often seen in the North. Some parents do take their children to religious centres when they engaged in any kind of misbehaviours which include drug addiction and stealing.
“This is something that has been the tradition in this side of the North,” said Isa.
However, the Police were prompted to raid and shut down the 40-year-old “reformation centre” after it received reports on several human rights violation.
“In a small room, you put over 300 people, and you say you are rehabilitating them,” Isa told The ICIR. “This is nothing like rehabilitation,” he added.
The Katsina Police said there were so many complications including sexual harassment among the inmates, lack of social amenities and some children were chained on their legs and hands.
Eight people were arrested having been suspected to be coordinators of the centre.
Isa said the police have started tracing the victims’ families to reunite them.
Faruk Faruk, the emir of Daura who was shocked at the discovery charged the police to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.
He said it was a surprise for such a thing to happen in his domain. The Emir asked for “fair and just investigation” so that culprits can face appropriate sanctions.