The police on Monday discovered an illegal detention centre at a mosque around Ojoo area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. It was learnt that some clerics used the centre, which held over 259 captives, as a ‘corrective home’ for recalcitrant persons.
The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, who led the team of police officers to the centre said a 17-year-old escapee from a similar facility in Owode, Apata, another part of the city, told the police about the Ojoo centre.
The commissioner said that on arrival at the mosque situated in Ojoo area of Ibadan, the victims who recounted the experience said some of them have been held hostage for years.
Olukolu said: “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 sometimes 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 had 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 of 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.”