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Inhumanity: Police rescues 126 workers locked up for 3 months in Kano rice factory

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The Kano state police command has rescued about 126 factory workers practically held hostage in a rice mill in the state.

A team of policemen acting on intelligence from the community where the rice mill is located in the Challawa area of the state ‘busted’ the facility on June 21 and after a thorough search found 126 labourers trapped inside the factory allegedly for the past three months.

The police public relations officer in Kano state Abdullahi Haruna while speaking to newsmen said a complaint was received from Global Community for Human Rights Network, Kano alleging that some 300 workers of the Challawa Industrial Estate rice mill were being held hostage by their employers for the past three months.

The company, said to belong to some Indian nationals, allegedly kept over 300 workers locked up in the factory during the lockdown period without allowing them access to the outside world.

According to him, four officials of the factory have been arrested and investigation has commenced to unravel the facts of the matter.

Some of the workers while recounting their ordeal said they were denied exit from the mill since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown imposed in March for fear of importing COVID-19 into the factory.

Workers narrate their experience:

“We were treated like slaves for three months.

“We were all set free on Monday. It was a nasty experience…I don’t know how to describe the food we were fed with. The head of the administration recruited one woman who was cooking the food for us to buy.

“My monthly salary was N32,000. We were working day and night. I wanted to leave but there was no way; my wife and children were traumatized,” one of them recounted.

“We’ve been subjected to various forms of torture and humiliation, but we have no option. Though someone was able to bring in ‘Mai shayi’ selling tea and bread to us, that’s the only thing we could buy aside from the food they cooked for us. We had no right to buy anything outside the company.

“Any person who falls sick would have to look for a way that a medicine could be sneaked into the company for him without the management’s knowledge.

“We could only secretly send some labourers taking out the dust to buy medicines for us. About 20 of us fell sick within that period but no effort was made by the company to either take us to the hospital or take care of us,” lamented another worker.

The Global Community for Human Rights that brought the attention of the security agency to the atrocity said the organisation would take up the case to ensure that the men got justice.

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