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Still on Nigeria’s torture houses
By Mikky Attah
The viral video of a chained and tortured man, Dr Hassan Yusuf was an agonising watch for many Nigerians who saw it this past week. Yusuf has a PhD from a university in the United Kingdom. He says he studied and worked there for sixteen years. But for two years now before his recent rescue, he has been a prisoner in a torture house of a school where people are sent to learn the Koran or to be rehabilitated from various addictions.
In Dr Yusuf’s case, he said in the video that he was accused of becoming a Christian by his extended family. He then found himself in the school one morning he says, and has been kept incommunicado for two years with no medical attention and no access to medication. Yusuf is diabetic. He says he takes the local zogale ( that is moringa leaf) which is procured within the neighbourhood, as a local drug.
Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of “discoveries “ of these torture houses, in Daura, in Zaria and even more in Kaduna.
This first one with Yusuf and other victims was in Rigasa area. There, after a police raid , more than three hundred males were brought out after being tortured and several of them allegedly sexually abused by their teachers. Adults as well as young children were discovered where they had been kept; one hundred each, in small rooms, with many of them chained. When the police raided the Islamic boarding school they discovered a torture chamber within the premises where the students were routinely chained, hung and beaten. Many of the rescued students bore scars of serious injuries.
Kaduna State police public relations officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo said, “ the victims were kept in the most debasing and inhuman conditions in the name of teaching them the Koran and reforming them.” Expectedly, the proprietor of the school has denied all allegations of torture and sexual abuse. He has said, “ they don’t do anything here than recitation of the Koran, pray and worship God”. The proprietor only accepted that the students were chained- that most likely because the students were physically discovered in chains.
Amazingly, the parents of the students, when they were located claimed to be shocked and horrified by the condition of their children. What was evident was that the school authorities did take pains to conceal a lot of the goings- on. Parents were only allowed to visit once in three months. And as is usually the case in boarding houses, parents were only allowed into select areas of the premises. That said, the shock and horror of the parents is still debatable, and even if true; then their negligence is not.
The victims have since been taken to the stadium for safety and for identification by their parents. They were also scheduled for medical and psychological examination.
Seven people at the school have been arrested, including the proprietor of the school which is the Daru Imam Ahmad Bun Hamdal Centre for Islamic Studies.
As if that was not enough, it has turned out that the same Rigasa district houses more of these torture houses. This should be a thing of concern to the man in charge of the state, and indeed it is!
The owner of the Nigas Rehabilitation Centre , ‘Dr’ Lawal Mudura had his time run out a fortnight ago. It was business as usual at his horror house that Saturday when, as early as 8am ,October 19th, they received a most unexpected visitor, the Governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir El -Rufai! He was accompanied by an unusually large detachment of police, and the visit was unscheduled. What he met was again another ugly shocker.
Continued in Part 2
Still on Nigeria’s torture houses