Many residents of Gombe State have yet to fully understand why the feet of a 14- year -old Almajiri boy, Nafiu Usman, were burnt in an oven by a bakery manager, Idris Abubakar, at Bajoga in the Funakaye Local Government Area of Gombe State.
Usman, who is from Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi State, came to Bajoga in search of Quranic education, but what he got were burnt feet. The pain he must have felt as his feet were forcefully inserted in a burning oven could best be imagined. Nafiu’s feet were burnt on December 10 for allegedly stealing bread from a bakery. Although the incident occurred on December 10, he did not receive treatment for the wounds until January 9 at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe. A nurse confirmed to our correspondent that by the time the boy was brought to the hospital, his feet were already infected.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that Usman had been undergoing treatment in the traditional way before he was moved to the General Hospital in Bajoga and eventually referred to the FTH.
Asked his mission in the bakery, Usman told our correspondent that he went there because he was thirsty and wanted to drink some water. He said, “On our way from the farm where we went to pick beans, we decided to stop at the bakery to drink some water. The manager of the bakery accused us of stealing N80 worth of bread. He snatched our beans and searched us, but he didn’t find any loaf of bread.
“We were asked to call our mallam (Islamic teacher), but we couldn’t find him. So I was detained by the manager (Idris Abubakar) who is also the son of the owner of the bakery.
“The owner of the bakery wasn’t around at the time of the incident. Abubakar put my feet inside burning charcoal. After sometime, he brought me out and offered me some water before putting my feet in the oven again. I was beaten with iron. When my colleagues returned and saw that I couldn’t walk, they had to look for a wheelbarrow to carry me.”
The bakery has been shut down by the Gombe State Government, which ordered a proper investigation of the incident. Reacting, Governor Inuwa Yahaya described the incident as dehumanising and unjustifiable.