Lawal Muduru, also known as Malam Niga, owner of Niga’s Rehabilitation Centre, has accused northern state governors of not being concerned about the future of the youth in the region.
Speaking with journalists in Kaduna, Muduru said the governors in the region do not take the issue of drug abuse among the youth seriously. He said their attitude is one of the reasons the region is prone to crisis.
Nasir el-Rufai, governor of the state, was on the premises when security operatives raided the centre where 147 inmates were rescued.
Some of the rescued persons were found in chains. Among those rescued were 22 females and four foreigners.
Muduru, who was released on bail after his arrest, dismissed the report that the centre was a torture chamber. He said well-known people in society bring their children to the centre to be rehabilitated.
He said some of the inmates were chained to prevent them from going violent owing to their issues with drug abuse and mental illness.
He also said the state government could not have claimed ignorance of the centre because the “ministry of youths and sport and other government agencies sent mentally unstable people to the centre for rehabilitation”.
“Still, last Saturday, the governor came in a convoy of security men to my centre interrogating me why I was chaining children and I explained to him that all I do is teach the inmates trade,” he said.
“I showed them everything. I explained that some inmates do run away from the centre and never return home to meet their relatives and if they run away from the centre, the parents confront me.
“I also explained that in most cases, the inmates usually run into trouble once they are not within the rehabilitation centre’s premises. Some may even lose their lives and the relatives take me to court if I can’t provide their children.
“We all know that drug abuse is prevalent in the north, and in Kano and Jigawa states alone, people consume many bottles of codeine daily.
“What I observed is that in all the 19 northern states in the country, none of the governors takes the issue of drug abuse seriously. The future of the youth is of less concern to them and that has been the reason we have so many restive youths and crises in the north.”