Police Rescue Over 600 Workers Locked For 3 Months In Kano Rice Factory

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Kano police have rescued over 600 employees who have been locked up in the state ‘s rice factory for about 3 months, out of fear of having coronavirus in.

The workers said if they opted to go home to see their families they were threatened with their jobs.

Kano police commanders stormed the factory on Monday after they obtained a court injunction, arrested four managers and released the detained workers.

They were denied access outside the factory premises, because of the fear of bringing COVID-19 into the factory, according to the workers.

One of the freed workers told reporters he had been in the factory since 23rd March without setting his foot outside.

Another worker, Haruna Salihu, said that since March 28 he had been in the factory, and was denied time to visit his family and parents. “The members of our family are seriously disturbed because they don’t know the (condition in which we are). My wife and children used to come to the gate of the factory and I could not go and greet them.

“We were tricked to stay in the factory for five days, then (it was) extended to seven days, then two weeks and subsequently extended to one month. We are now detained for over three months. There are about 600 workers in the factory. We are sleeping in a very poor environment. I am appealing to authorities to allow me to go back to my family.”

According to another employee, though he was not forced to stay, he was threatened with dismissal if he decided to go outside the factory.

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Also, a truck driver, Hashimu Isa, who brought paddy rice from Kebbi State, narrated how he was kept in the factory for three days without going out.

“I brought paddy rice from Yauri, Kebbi State. I couldn’t go out of the factory, since my entry three days ago. Even if you attempted to go out, the security will not allow you. I couldn’t go out to give my boy money to buy food. Someone sent me ten thousand Naira, but I couldn’t go to the bank to withdraw it. I was waiting to (offload) the rice, so that I will leave,” he said.

The police spokesperson in Kano, Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, said they have arrested four management staff of the factory, and investigation is ongoing to verify the allegations against them.

“We have found many workers locked and enslaved in the factory. The commissioner of police, Habu A Sani, has directed for thorough investigation. So far, we have arrested four management staff and investigation has commenced,” Mr Kiyawa said.

The manager of the rice mill, who identified himself as Abdulkareem, regretted the incident, saying he was not aware of the workers’ terrible condition.



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