The Governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde, has ordered the demolition of a mosque used as detention centre where 259 inmates were rescued on Monday.
The governor gave the directive on Tuesday when he visited the Olore Central Mosque, in Ojoo, where the building is located.
Makinde was at the site with some of his aides and men of the state police command.
In an operation led by the state Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, 191 men, 34 women, 11 children and 23 sick persons, who were illegally held captive, some in chains, were freed, while nine suspects, including the owner of the centre, were arrested.
The governor also vowed to prosecute all those running the facility, adding that it was wrong for certain individuals to use a mosque as a cover up for crime and criminality.
Makinde, who visited the building before going to the camp, where the freed victims were being rehabilitated by the state government, said it was unbelievable that such a facility existed in an open area of the capital city.
He said, “What we have seen is something that we all have to condemn and this shouldn’t be happening in a modern environment. You can’t use a mosque as a façade to perpetrate this kind of evil.
“Yes, we have marked the entire structure for demolition; we have here people from the state ministries of lands and urban planning, health and justice. The government will do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that this kind of thing is stamped out in our environment.
“But, there are houses around here; the people, if they see something, ideally, they should say something, because this kind of thing could not have been going on without all of these people, particularly the residents around here, not knowing about it. So, they should have reported this thing to the authorities and maybe we would have unravelled this a long time ago.
“Also, we want to encourage our people, the parents and family members, if you need to rehabilitate members of your family, who are not behaving well, we have government institutions that can do that and we are trying to rehabilitate those places for the people of Oyo State.
“So, whatever is necessary, looking at the laws of our land regarding this kind of thing, we will ensure that we take this place away from those people doing this kind of thing within the ambit of the law. And also, you have the law enforcement agencies here; all those involved are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of our law.
“For the victims, we have mobilised the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion and the social welfare agencies there. First, we need to have immediate palliatives for them and then we have to look at the deeper issues and how to resettle them and reunite them with their families; we are not going to leave them alone at this point.”
While addressing the victims at the temporary resettlement camp in the Sanyo area, Makinde assured them that his government was on top of the matter to ensure that those behind the illegal operation of the centre were prosecuted.
He stated that 22 of the victims were receiving attention at the Adeoyo Hospital as a result of their critical conditions, adding, “We need to get to the root of this matter; the security agencies will investigate it. Anyone found innocent will be released. You need to cooperate with the government for us to get to the root of the matter.”