70 medical staff members arrested for abusing mentally disabled patients

Police raid home illustration 
By: Anika Rao 

A shocking case of abuse has been discovered at a mental health facility, according to police in Nigeria.

Seventy workers of a private medical institute were arrested Wednesday, on suspicion that they physically, sexually and mentally abused patients suffering from mental disabilities.

Staff members, including school counselors, doctors and nurses, are suspected of committing acts of abuse, while others are suspected of failing to report abuse to authorities.

About 100 employees work at the facility, which houses about 160 patients ranging from 20 to 70 years old.

According to an initial investigation, several employees sexually assaulted patients. Employees were committing indecent acts on them and were violent towards them. In several cases, patients had to be admitted to hospitals after the attacks.

Police launched an undercover investigation into the suspected abuse a year ago. Officials of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services participated in the ongoing investigation.

The probe was launched after police received several complaints from relatives and friends of patients, who reside on the premises.

"We have discovered a link of silence. This is a difficult investigation," a Police Chief Superintendent said.

After the police had uncovered sufficient evidence, some 150 officers raided the premises and arrested employees. Special teams will collect testimonies of the patients.

"We have discovered physical and sexual abuse, neglect and improper care," the police spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has sent a team of professionals to care for patients.