After living in chains inside an animal stall, freedom has finally come the way of 10-year-old boy Jibril Aliyu in Badariya area of Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.
His father and three stepmothers are now in police custody, while he is receiving treatment at a hospital.
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State has since ordered a swift investigation into what it called “the inhumane treatment” the young boy was subjected to.
The governor’s Special Adviser on Social Media, Aliyu Bandado, said the investigation will seek to unearth why the boy was subjected to such condition and why those who should protect small children failed.
Bagudu lamented how the young boy was maltreated not only by his own parents but neighbours as well in addition to government agencies.
The boy, who lost his mother about two years ago, reportedly lived on goat feed and his own faeces before he was rescued on Sunday.
The government said on its twitter handle that it would take care of Jibril’s hospital bills and bring him back to normal.
The government also accused his stepmothers of conspiring with his father to chain him inside the animal stall.
A video trending on social media had shown how Jibril was rescued by officials of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The young boy was so emaciated he could barely walk.
Barrister Hamza Attahiru Wala of the NHRC narrated how they found Jibril Aliyu in chains inside a goat shelter. “We spoke to the women of the house and they said the boy was insane.
“We met him eating faceces… dried animal faeces and even his own because he was chained. They were just treating him as insane. He was only mingling with animals and could not even talk,” Wala said.
The lawyer added that Jibril’s parents claimed he was suffering from epilepsy and was insane, but we are yet to establish that.
In the trending video, one of Jibril’s stepmothers was heard swearing that she had been giving him food.
On the delegation were chairman of Birnin-Kebbi LG, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aishatu Mai Kurata, Special Adviser, Women Affairs Hajia Zara’u Wali, and Senior Special Assistant, Aishatu Ibrahim Magawata.
Meanwhile, the police in Kebbi have taken Jibril’s father and his three wives into custody and investigation continues.
The spokesman of the police in Kebbi DSP Nafi’u Abubakar said “The boy is receiving treatment in the hospital. We want to hear the outcome of the treatment to determine the next course of action.
Chaining children becoming a trend
This is not the first time parents or guardians will be chaining their children or wards and subjecting them to inhumane treatment. But offenders are hardly ever prosecuted.
In Minna, a 10-year-old boy was in November last year rescued by the Niger State Child Rights Agency after he was chained by his father for refusing to go to school.
The boy reportedly crawled to the entrance of the house to get neighbours’ attention who promptly alerted the agency. The chains tied to his hands and legs with a padlock were broken.
The young boy also said his father chained him because his head teacher said he did not come to school, adding that his father refused to give him food before leaving the house.
The father Abubakar said his son had not been going to school and usually returned late at night despite several warnings, adding that he meant no harm, but was just his way of disciplining the boy in order for him not to become wayward.
The agency however said the boy’s father was a second-time offender and had been first warned on his cruelty to children under his care in his school.
The agency said it would ensure the father is prosecuted while the child would be taken back to his mother, who is separated from the father.
In Lagos, a video went viral last year of a women maltreating a young boy and eventually locking him up inside a dog’s cage.
According to the then spokesperson for Lagos police Dolapo Badmos, the woman was arrested by the police while the boy, an orphan, was being taken care of by the Lagos State Government.
In July 2016, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) rescued Taiwo Korede, a nine-year old boy, who was chained for weeks in a Celestial Church of Christ (Key of Joy Parish, Ajiwo) at Ajibawo in Ado Odo/Ota local government area of Ogun State.
The statement said the boy was rescued while in chains, and that the case had been transferred to the appropriate authority for further investigation.