The Police Command in Katsina State has ordered the immediate closure of Malam Bello-mai’almajirai local reformatory centre in Daura, Katsina State, where over 360 people had been subjected to inhuman treatment and torture for years.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Sanusi Buba, who inspected the centre in company of journalists and other relevant stakeholders, ordered the closure in Daura on Monday.
He said that inmates were subjected to deplorable and dehumanising conditions at the centre.
The 360 inmates at the centre escaped after breaking the burglar-proof windows on Sunday.
The commissioner added that the condition of inmates called for urgent and serious concern, noting that the police would search the 34 local government areas in the state to unravel such centres.
He explained that some of the inmates were handcuffed and compelled to sleep in unventilated rooms.
“We would mount surveillance to fish out such culprits subjecting children to servitude,” he said.
He urged parents who took their children to the centre to come forward with valid means of identification to claim them, stressing that
“no law in the country permits such inhuman treatment.”
The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk, called on the police and other relevant security agencies to carry out thorough investigation on the issue.
He urged the police to be fair and just in their investigation so that the culprits would face appropriate sanctions.
The emir who expressed shock at the discovery, said it was a surprise for such a thing to happen in his domain.
The closure of the centre comes less than three weeks after the Police in Kaduna rescued about 500 boys and men from a building in Rigasa where victims were exposed to similar inhuman treatment.
Gambo Isa, Katsina Police spokesperson, told ICIR that the small mud house was meant to be a reformation centre for individuals with character deformation.
The police raided 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 Police said the children 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.
“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.
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.