Oyo State Police Command has uncovered a torture centre in Ibadan, the state capital, where more than 200 inmates were held hostage in a mosque at Ojoo end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The prophet superintending the camp in Oloore Mosque told the police that inmates, rescued in chains and shackles at the time police operatives arrived, are “psychiatric patients.”
Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, told newsmen that a 17-year-old escapee from another holding facility in Owode, Apata, Ibadan, informed the force of the happenings at the mosque.
According to Olukolu, the escapee mentioned Oloore Mosque in Ojoo as another facility used in holding the inmates.
Speaking with journalists at the scene, the police boss, said:
“It is the responsibility of the police to protect lives and property. This morning, November 4, 2019, I received a call via a young man, who informed one of my divisional police officers that there is an illegal detention facility somewhere at Owode, Apata in Ibadan, being run by someone, who claimed to have the powers to change the anti-social behaviours of youngsters and others.
“The young man said they were being maltreated and sometime, their deaths were not reported to anybody.
“On the basis of that information, the police decided tp check it out. We got to Owode, Apata.
“By the time we got there, they have evacuated that facility. But from the surroundings, we knew that there were people in that place earlier than the time we arrived.
“However, the young man informed the police that there is another detention facility and that is where we are now at Oloore, Ojoo area of Ibadan.
“When the police got here, we discovered that young men and women are being kept in captivity in a dungeon-like situation. As a matter of fact, man’s inhumanity to man is being manifested in this environment. And we are not happy about the situation.
“So, we got across to the state government and state government officials are around. They are here with a view of ensuring some of these young men that are kept against their will are liberated and allowed to be in a position where they can talk to themselves and take care of themselves.
“Definitely, this area will be secured to enable the police carry out further investigation, further search and anyone found culpable will definitely be arrested, investigated and prosecuted to serve as a warning to others, who may want to operate such houses that serve as illegal detention centres.”
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Fausat Sanni, who was at the scene, promised that the state government, under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde, would take care of the rescued inmates.
He said the government would ensure they are properly kept, properly treated, well-fed and treated as human beings unlike the way they were being treated like animals in the environment.
Some of the victims, who recounted their experience, said some of them have been held hostage for many years at the mosque, whose operator has been arrested in company of other suspected accomplices.
Some of the inmates said they were taken to the place by their parents and they did not know why their parents took them to the centre.
A number of them also said they were subjected to a lot of inhuman treatment, forced labour and they were not well-fed.