Kaduna Torture House: A Clear Case Of Inhumanity

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The Kaduna torture house is one of the many places where dehumanisation takes place across Nigeria. The Kaduna Police Command, in September, rescued over 300 people from a house where they were chained and maltreated. The raid was conducted after the police got a tipoff about suspicious activities in a school. This Kaduna torture house and similar ones have gotten the attention of the international media and are definitely a classic example of man’s inhumanity to man.

What Happened?

In September, the Kaduna Police got the tipoff about suspicious activities in a house disguised as an Islamic school and a rehabilitation camp which was operated by seven men, led by a 39-year-old man identified as Ismaila Abubakar.


According to the Kaduna Police spokesperson, Yakubu Sabo, the Police found children as young as 10 and young men as old as 18 chained by the ankle. The victims were reportedly taken from different areas in Kaduna following complaints of drug addiction and the likes against them.

Sabo, while speaking with Premium Times on September 27th, 2019, said:

“When we got there we found over 300 children, some of them young men, 18 years old. When we tried to find out exactly what was going on they said the children were undergoing Arabic studies and some of them socially maladjusted, that’s people who are maybe drug addicts are brought there for modification. This man has no specialised knowledge of behaviour modification. He is not a psychologist. Also, the school was not registered. And the parents even complained that when they bring their children, they will not have the children at will. When they come, the school authorities will tell them that they cannot see their children till after three months.

“So they were not in the picture of what was actually happening to the children. When we got there, you should have seen how happy the children were, because they had been in bondage. Some of them below the age of 10, subjected to this dehumanizing treatment. Some of them had scars, indicating that they had been wounded.”

In the past months, over 1,000 children and adults have been freed from four Islamic schools after they were found in inhumane conditions in the loosely regulated institutions. These discoveries have increased pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to tighten oversight on the traditional system of education practiced in the North known as Almajiri.

Why do they exist? 

This is one of those cases of parents outsourcing the well being of their “problem children”  to perceived religious authorities in the belief that problems of a medical nature can be solved through religious study.

The Modern-Day Slave Houses And Ordeals Of Victims.

According to a report by Washington Post, three days before the Kaduna raid, 500 people were rescued from an Islamic school in Katsina state also disguised as a rehabilitation place for young people with behavioral issues. The men and boys who were rescued had been chained to walls, struck with canes, and often went hungry in packed rooms. Some reported enduring sexual abuse and all forms of dehumanisations.

On October 12, 2019, police freed 67 men and boys from a similar facility in the Katsina. They were shirtless and sitting on the ground and some were chained around the neck when found. One of the victims, 33-year-old Lawal Ahmad, said they were beaten, abused and punished every day in the name of being taught about God.

Victims of the Kaduna torture house were brutalized, their legs chained to vehicle wheels and a generator to prevent them from escaping; those who were caught trying to escape were tied to the ceiling and suspended in the air as punishment. In some photographs, one can easily spot festering sores from the beatings that covered bodies of the victims.

Similar modern-day slave houses include the “baby factories” and “slave/ritual houses”. Last month, the police rescued 19 pregnant women and four children from a house in Lagos and according to BBC, 160 children have been rescued from ‘baby factories’ in the country in the past one year. Pregnant women are lured to these homes and held against their will and when delivered of their babies, the children are sold against the wishes of the mothers.

Another example is the ritual camp in Agungun, Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, where the police saved 20 people in June; the camp was operating as a ‘spiritual and healing’ home for people suffering from mental illness. In March 2014, another slave/ritual camp was uncovered in Soka, Ibadan, where hundreds of people taken by abductors reportedly died with skeletons and decomposing bodies littering the premises. In August 2016, the police rescued 13 children and 15 adults locked up in another “healing” centre at Oke-Ira, in the Ogba area of Lagos.

All these are only a few examples of the many slave houses across Nigeria, which the Government needs to put a stop to. Perpetrators of these acts should be given harsh punishment and proper laws for the social welfare of citizens should be put in place.  While we applaud the Nigerian Police, it is important that stringent security measures are available to tackle cases like this.


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