Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Oyo State Police Command yesterday discovered an illegal detention centre with over 400 captives who were held hostage at a mosque around Ojoo area of Ibadan, the state capital.
It would be recalled that such centre had been in existence for years, with clerics using it as a ‘corrective home’ for recalcitrant persons.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Olukolu, who led the team of police officers to the centre, while speaking with journalists, said a 17-year-old victim who escaped from the holding facility in another part of Ibadan hinted the police about the development, stating that the escapee mentioned Olore mosque in Ojoo as another facility used in holding the victims.
He said on arrival at the mosque situated in Ojoo area of Ibadan, the victims who recounted their experience, said some of them have been held hostage for years.
According to him, “the young man said they were being maltreated; they were not being well-fed; they were being treated like slaves and they were engaged in forced labour, and sometime their deaths were not reported to anybody.
“On the basis of that information, the police decided to 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.
“Actually, when the police got here, we discovered that young men, young 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 to ensuring that 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 and the police will be able to do further investigation, further search and anyone at all, who is found culpable will definitely be arrested, investigated and prosecuted diligently to serve as a warning to others, who may want to operate such houses that serve as illegal detention centres.”