Police in Kaduna have rescued over 300 people from a house where they had been chained and maltreated for at least three months.
Police said the house, disguised an Islamic school and a rehabilitation camp, was operated by seven men, led by a 39-year-old identified as Ismaila Abubakar.
The Kaduna State police spokesperson, Yakubu Sabo, told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that they visited the building on Thursday after receiving information.
Mr Sabo said they found children as young as 10 years old, and young men as old as 18 -- all chained. The victims were reportedly taken there by their parents following complaints of the children's involvement in social ills like drug addiction, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
"It is true. Yesterday, the command acted on intelligence that there was a school where children over three hundred were caged in a place. It was more of a rehab than a school, but it was not registered. The commissioner of police led other senior officers to the place for on the spot assessment," he 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.
The large house in Kaduna was raided after a tip-off about suspicious activity. [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]Some of the detainees had visible injuries. [PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]"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."
He said the police commissioner had instructed that the victims be evacuated to a safe place.
Seven of the managers, including the owner of the property, have been arrested.