The cleric of the ‘torture house’ in Kaduna State, Ismaili Mohammed, was arrested on Thursday by the police after people were found in chains at the Islamic centre.
Among the about 300 people rescued by the security operatives during the operation led by the Commission of Police in Kaduna, Ali Janga, were children in their teens and some adults who were locked up with chains in both hands and legs.
Speaking in Hausa, Mohammed explained why those chained were in such a situation, stressing that they had no other duty than to teach Islam at the centre.
“We don’t do anything other than recitation of Quran, pray, and worship God,” he claimed. “Those chained are the stubborn ones who attempt running away.”
The suspect added, “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.”
The centre is located Rigasa, an agrarian community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Apart from being the most densely populated community in the state, Rigasa is also predominantly inhabited by Muslims.
Liberation From Slavery
The centre, going by the inscription on the signboard on the building, portrays it to be a place to acquire Islamic knowledge and sound moral upbringing for children.
While this has been the belief of many residents of the community, the invasion of the centre by police operatives and the shocking revelation about the alleged atrocities being perpetrated by the operators left the people in shock.
The operation which, was an offshoot of volunteered information from a patriotic resident, Hassan Mohamed, took the operators of the centre and even their neighbours by surprise.
With scars of injuries from torture on their bodies, many of those rescued are said to have come from Mali and Burkina Faso.
One of the men among the victims, Bello Hamza, alleged that they were sexually abused by the men who were supposed to be their teachers and guardians.
He added that trying to run away from the centre attracts severe punishment.
Another victim, Ibrahim Saeed, said, “They used to beat us even when we go to observe our prayers. The man has so many canes he uses to flog us every time.
“I am 14 years old. It was my father that told them to bring me here and my brother brought me down. I have been here for a month.”
He also dismissed all allegations against him as totally false and insisted that all they do in the centre was to teach people Islam.
“All those allegations of torture, dehumanisation and homosexuality are false and mere allegations,” Mohammed said.
Addressing reporters, the police commissioner said preliminary investigation revealed that the place was neither a rehabilitation centre nor an Islamic school.
He gave assurance that the command would get to the root of the matter to ascertain the real motive behind the activities at the centre.
The rescued children, according to Janga, have been evacuated from the premises to the Kaduna State Police Command Headquarters for proper profiling.
Souce: Channels TV