[Author’s Note: An image below is graphic and may be found disturbing to some readers]
At Mal Niga school in the city of Katsina late on Wednesday Police found more than 500 boys and young men, many of whom had been chained to walls, molested and beaten.
A pattern has become grimly familiar in Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north. More than 1,200 males, some as young as five, have been freed in three police operations since late September.
In all three cases, many boys were beaten, starved, held in chains, and sexually abused. Some of these captives were unable to walk unaided after their rescue due to how long they were subjected to this brutal behavior.
As many as 10m children are educated in privately owned madrassas across Nigeria, mostly in the north. The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, a native of Katsina state himself, earlier on in the year vowed he would crackdown and close madrassas.
Horrid conditions and a complete attempt to hide the facts were uncovered in this third raid. The madrassa had two separate quarters, one where children were housed in semi-tolerable conditions, and second, a grim prison-like facility where manacles and instruments of torture were found.
With this latest discovery, a third in the space of as many weeks, the President’s decision is found to be prophetic. The need to close these places of inhumane treatment of children, some as young as five years old, must head the list of priorities. “The government cannot allow centres where people, male or female, are maltreated in the name of religion,” Noted Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson.
All in all, five persons from Mal Niga school were arrested in this latest freedom endeavor. May they receive full and fierce justice.
[Author’s Note: For first-hand accounts, see here]