Last week, both conventional and social media were awash with the news of raiding or bursting up of some correctional centres across the North. It started in Daura, Katsina state where the rehabilitation centre was cracked down and dehumanised inmates freed. Like harmattan fire, it spread to Kaduna state in which the executive governor of the state, El-rufai, led combined security forces to Rigasa a suburb or an outskirt area of the state where an old correctional centre was closed and nearly 200 tortured, dehumanised and emaciated adults and children released. This action has sent panic and warning signals to other centres across the region causing them to hurriedly close. The sad trending news of these stone-age correction centres aroused several questions on the lips of Nigerians such as, for how long have these centres been operating? Are the parents of these inmates aware of the condition their children are exposed or subjected to? Do government at all levels contribute to this mess?
To begin with their operations, it will be recalled, correctional centres have been in existence for decades most especially in Northern Nigeria. However, in recent times, their mode of operation has been crude and fallen short of the religious and cultural standard. The centres were established to train the victims of drug abuse, mental disorders and cases of juvenile delinquency among children. When undergoing rehabilitation, the victims are expected to learn religion and vocational education. Instead of continuing with the lofty objectives, these centres have derailed and turned to a haven of torture. While narrating their ordeal, the freed inmates or victims of these correctional centres recounted how they were chained, kept in an overcrowded room, made to defecate inside their room and starved for days. Sometimes, they were being sodomised and condemned to all sorts of inhuman treatment.
Do the parents who entrust their wards to these centres know their deplorable condition? I believe, looking at the deep rot of the centres, no right-thinking parent would take their child there. Sadly, many parents are blindfolded into believing the correctional centres are the solution to their wards bad behaviour. However, in the end, it was a harvest of glory. The government should continue to wield a big stick against these rehabilitation centres. There is an urgent need for the government to strengthen or open more rehabilitation centres. By so doing, it will put a stop to the operation of these unlicensed rehabilitation centres.
By:IBRAHIM MUSTAPHA,PAMBEGUA,KADUNA STATE.08169056963