Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As reactions continue to trail the police raid of a ‘torture house’ in Kaduna, the Commissioner, Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, on Thursday said that some parents are partly to blame for the establishment of such a house of horror.
The Commissioner, who stated this while appearing on a Kaduna radio breakfast show, where she was invited to speak on the role of her ministry in the management of rescued ‘students’ of an Islamic reform school raided by the police a week ago, expressed mixed feelings on the registration status of the facility.
Hafsat, a human right activist before her appointment as a state commissioner, disclosed that a total of 190 people, comprised of 77 children and 113 adults, were successfully reunited with their families after medical examination. While three other children from Burkina Faso have been handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for repatriation.
“190 persons were handed over to us. 77 of this figure are children and 113 adults. We also have 3 other children from Burkina Faso and we have handed them over to the immigration for proper documentation,” she said.
While clarifying the 300 figure reported in the media, the Commissioner said, “the night the police raided the place, some of the inmates escaped because it was raining. But those we counted are 190.”
She added that, “it is the responsibility of parents to ensure moral upbringing of their children. I can’t imagine that you cannot control your child and you are pushing the responsibility to someone else.
“Even if you take that child willingly to that institution, I believe that you as a good parent should go round the school, look at the facility and ensure it conforms to your own own conviction, not that you just go and dump the child there because you want to get rid of him.
“On a normal day, when you take your child to school, you will check the basics: how many toilets they have, how many children are there in a classroom and all that.
“When you look at the body of these children and how they were chained, you will be amazed. It beats my imagination when I saw a six-year-old child being beaten. He removed his shirt and you can see the scars all over him.
“We have failed as parents. You can imagine, the six-year-old boy doesn’t know the name of his mother because both are no longer together and that is the outcome of broken home.”
She also had words for the operators of private rehabilitation centres:
“If there is going to be such facility, then the proper thing should be done. Look at what the situation has brough us to. People calling from across the world. We have nothing to hide. It was an open thing and that was why we all, the media, are allowed to interact with these people.
“Let us do what is right. Let us follow the law. Why is it that we don’t want to follow the law? There must be registration and supervision. We want everything to be done according to rules and regulations
“Looking at the facility, it is not up to standard anywhere. Our major concern about the whole thing is the children, and that was why UNICEF came to the Hajj camp to see things for themselves.”
On reports of sodomy in the house of horror, the Commissioner said: “We are waiting for the report from the hospital before we can establish the allegation of homosexuality in the facility. We have told those we took to the medical facility to feel free to express themselves based on what they have experienced. That report will be made available to the interest groups.”