For years, the illegal reform centres run by ‘Malam Bello Mai Kawari’ and ‘Malam Niga’ have served as traditional reformatory and rehabilitation centres in Katsina State for children and adults perceived to be stubborn or recalcitrant.
These centres were the preferred choices for parents and caregivers who sought their wards and children reformation and subsequent reintegration into society.
However, both centres were shut down by the police last week following discoveries of several degrees of human abuses being perpetrated there.
Some of the victims of the Daura rehab centre, during an interactive session with the state Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, opened up on some of the inhuman conditions they passed through during the rehabilitation processes in the centres.
Fahad Jibrila Mubi, who was brought from Adamawa State, said in the two years he stayed in the house, six persons died, and two developed mental problems because of the abuses being meted on the inmates.
He said sodomy was the order of the day and monies sent by parents were used by the teachers. “The proprietor (Malam Bello) is aware of what’s going on here. He also sodomizes the inmates.”
“There is no lesson being taught here, we don’t worship or pray, it’s always beating and more beatings. We have people who have spent about eight years, five, three and one years here,” he said.
“We went through hell in this facility. We were abused, we were starved. When we fall sick, there are no medications. If you are lucky, they will hire a quack person to come and give you an injection in the house.”
Another inmate simply identified as Zahra said, “I was sodomized by three different persons in this house. They are Sarkin Gida, Malam Umar, Malam Ibrahim, and Hassan, they are all teachers here.”
According to Hassan Adamu, who was among those that led the revolt, inmates are subjected to hunger as there is an acute shortage of food in addition to being holed up in an overcrowded room.
“There are about 35 or more people in a room. I am the assistant to the leader of my room. We were 32 in a room. And it is a small room,” he said.
“If you are pressed at night or want to defecate, we have cellophane bags that we used and pass through the window for those sleeping in the open to handle.”
“As for the urine, we urinate inside a gallon and if you don’t have one, you urinate in your food container. In the morning, you pour the urine away and use the same container for your pap.”
Another victim from the Niger Republic said, “We are 45 in our room. Rice is only served thrice in a year – during Sallah or naming ceremony.”
“Anyone who tells you he is been taught here is just lying. How can one worship under chains? When you are being beaten almost all the time, you can’t worship,” he said.
The state commissioner of Police Sanusi Buba, said “We are going to put heads together with the Emirate Council and the state government to put in place a machinery to ensure that all these people are returned to their parents.
“First, this man is not registered. Secondly, he cannot sustain the so-called kind of rehabilitation centre. There is no rehabilitation going on in this place. Almost all of them were chained, and they were being beaten. If you see their backs, you can see signs of torture, which is sad and very unfortunate,” he said.
“We are still going to continue with our investigation and all these other aides of the Malam, who were implicated in the dastardly act of homosexuality and other maltreatment will be tracked down,” he added.
The proprietors of the two illegal rehabilitation centres in Katsina, Malam Bello Abdullahi (Mai Kwari) and Malam Salisu Hamisu (Malam Niga) have been arrested and remanded in prison till October 22 when their cases will come up at the Magistrate courts.
They were accused of criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement, and cruelty to children, contrary to Section 97, 257(b) and 238 of the penal code.