Police seal ‘torture centre’ as youths protest against mistreatment in Katsina
This is coming barely a month after a similar centre was uncovered in Rigasa, Igabi Council Area of Kaduna state.
The centre, an Islamic or Almajiri School was discovered in the Nasarawa quarters of the council area after scores of youths who were brought in for ‘rehabilitation,’ protested against their mistreatment last Sunday.
Known as Malam Bello Mai Almajiri ‘rehabilitation center’ after the name of the centre’s owner, the school before now receives wayward children and youths for correction using religious principles.
The school, which had been operating for more than a decade, had had 360 youths who were brought in by their parents and wards from various states and countries, including Niger Republic and Cameroon.
But following the protest, 30 of them escaped while over 200 escaped yesterday, leaving only 65 at centre, a development that made the police to seal off the facility yesterday and arrested its owner and two of his staff members.
Speaking shortly after inspecting the school, the state Commissioner of Police (CP), Sanusi Buba said the facility was closed down, as it does not have the capacity to sustain the dissidents.
Buba confirmed that several of the youths were sodomised and beaten like slaves and that six of them had died due to the kind of conditions under which they were kept.
He lamented that those who were supposed to be training and correcting the youths, engaged in sodomy with them, adding that some of them escaped following the protest.
“Our preliminary investigation showed that the place belongs to Bello. He has been a Koranic teacher for a very long time and he has been around here for close to 40 years.
“From here he graduated to the level of collecting children for rehabilitation, some of them are under-aged, while others of adult age were brought here by their parents supposedly to rehabilitate them.
“Unfortunately, as you can see the place, small rooms of about six rooms, each accommodates over 40 of them with chains and subjected to all forms of inhuman treatment unbecoming of a civilised rehabilitation centre,” he said.
He explained that when the Police attention was drawn to the development, he mobilised his men to seal off the facility, and also directed the AC CID to get details and arrest the owners of the facility including Bello.
Responding to the incident, Emir of Daura, Alhaji Farouk Umar expressed shock over the discovery, saying it was saddening that something of such nature was happening in President Muhammadu Buhari’s hometown.
Umar said Bello was among the leading Imams in the area and wondered why such activities could take place within an Islamic school, urging the police not to leave any stone unturned in bringing those involved in the inhuman treatment of the victims to book.
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