Ja’afaru Ahmed, the Controller-General (CG) of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), and Sanusi Mu’azu Danmusa, the Maiduguri State Controller of the prison service, have blocked investigations into allegations of child prostitution, sodomy, and forced abortions at the Maiduguri Prison, SaharaReporters can exclusively report.
On March 23, SaharaReporters had published excerpts from Charles Okah's 31-page piece entitled ‘Sodomy of Children in Maiduguri Prison and The ICRC Conspiracy of Silence’, which chronicled the harrowing experiences that prison inmates are subjected to, sometimes with the cooperation of prison officials.
In the report, Okah revealed cases of child prostitution, sodomy, abortions, and even outright murder. He wrote: The first I saw a frightened child same age range as mine locked up inside cages; it had such a profound and a heart-rending effect on me. But of a particular poignancy was the day a pimp approached me to prostitute the boys.
“The pimp, a notorious armed robber serving a fourteen-year jail sentence, a life sentence, and a death sentence, has been on a death row since 2013, but still retained his villainous features. His large red protuberant eyes can be compared to that of a fly; a tsetse fly to be precise. I can imagine that together with a gun, those eyes must have frightened his victims to total submission. He asked me in halting English if I liked little boys and I replied that ‘of course, I do’. And I went on and on, without him prompting, to tell him I have a nine-year-old boy myself, who I saw last when he was one, and how much I miss him… blah, blah, blah.
“At a point, while I droned on, he began shaking his large head, broad across his temples slowly from side to side. What I was telling him was literally entering into one ear and coming out unfiltered through the other ear that had been deformed by bullet wound. He then proceeded to demonstrate what he actually meant by joining the index finger and thumb tips of his left hand to form a circle, and then with his index finger of his right hand, he poked in and out of the circle.
“As the pimp was poking a dirty finger into the circle, those big eyes bore into me like a laser beam, as if trying to read my thoughts and gauge my seriousness. As he did that, his thick black lips looking like roasted animal hide, curled into certain slyness. I nodded my head to indicate that I understood, but I was in shock. Instead of showing disgust, I decided to play along, maintaining that face many would wear at the visa section of the American embassy when lying to the interviewer as the only way out when candor fails.
“Convinced I was game, he gave me the rates with which to have anal sex or fellatio with a little boy of my choice. The younger the boy, the higher the price, while the mentally challenged or imbeciles as he referred to them, are the costliest because of their fetish/ritual values based on a fallacy that one’s problems or trying circumstances can be transferred to them through intercourse. The cheapest goes for fellatio offered by the children and known as ‘quick relief’.
“Out of curiosity, I opted for an ‘imbecile’ and was taken the next day to cell number 16 in unit 3 of cluster 2 where I met Goni Ali Shettima for the first time, huddled up in a corner with resignation and confusion in those angelic eyes of a child.
“After I expressed disinterest in Goni Ali, I was sworn to secrecy, that night I annulled the oath with solemn vow to spill the beans and do everything within my limits to save the children by telling their story to the world, even at the risk of my life.”
Following the publication of the report, Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno State, immediately set up an investigative panel chaired by Kaka Shuhu Lawan, the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, to look into the allegations.
However, findings by SaharaReporters show that all attempts of the committee to gain access to the prison were denied by the Controller-General of NPS and the State Controller.
A prison source told SaharaReporters that nothing had been done on the matter so far — because when members of the investigative panel visited the Prison Headquarters Maiduguri inand informed the State Comptroller of the reason for their visit and sought permission to enter the Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison, the state Comptroller said he could not grant the committee access to the facility without paper clearance from the Comptroller-General (CG) Prisons.
On March 29, the committee as well as the National Human Rights Commission wrote the CG in Abuja for clearance, but both letters were ignored. The Committee again wrote a reminder on April 4, but there was still no response from both the CG and the State Comptroller.
SaharaReporters reached out to Ahmed and Danmusa for comments, but both of them ignored calls and text messages to their telephone lines.