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Children from the Du Merci centre


Du Merci child who suffered first degree burns not receiving adequate treatment

9 Nov 2021

CSW is concerned by reports that a child seized during police raids on the Du Merci Centre orphanages in Kano and Kaduna states in December 2019, and who was subsequently burned in a fire at a government-run orphanage in Kano State, has not received adequate treatment since leaving hospital.

Moses Tarfa, 14, suffered first degree burns to the face, hands, body and legs when his mosquito net caught fire at around 2am on 20 December 2020.  He was bedridden in the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) for seven months and was discharged after undergoing skin grafts on both arms with flesh removed from his thighs.

However, CSW has learned that he has not received adequate follow-up treatment since returning to the orphanage, and that as a result some of his fingers and wrist are now deformed and he has scars on his face, arms and thigh.

Moses Tarfa is among 27 children who were seized and placed in the Nasarawa Children’s Home following raids on the Du Merci Centre orphanages in Kano and Kaduna states by armed officers from the police force and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), that occurred on 25 and 31 December 2019, respectively.

Once in the government-run home, the Du Merci children were not permitted to leave the premises to attend their schools or church and complained of being mistreated on account of their religious beliefs.  In April 2020, Kano’s Commissioner for Women’s Affairs finally agreed to release seven of the older children.

In January 2021 the authorities began the process of forcibly relocating the younger children from the government-run home, raising concerns for their continued physical and psychological wellbeing.  Six children aged between four and eight have been transferred to an isolated rural location where their names and religion have allegedly been changed.

On 24 June a High Court in Kano State acquitted Professor Richard Solomon Tarfa, who co-founded the Du Merci centres with his wife Mercy, of charges of abduction of 19 children from their legal guardians, and confining them in an unregistered orphanage, and also of running illegal orphanages. Despite the professor’s acquittal, the children are yet to be returned to the couple’s custody, and the Tarfas and their legal representative continue to be denied access to them.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “Months after Professor Tarfa was acquitted of the charges against him, he and his wife are yet to be reunited with the children they love and care for as their own, and who have not yet been returned to their home. CSW is especially concerned by reports that Moses Tarfa has not received adequate treatment for injuries suffered in a home he never should have been in the first place, and that another of the children may have contracted hepatitis. We call for all of the Du Merci children to be returned to the only parents they have ever known, and for full reparations to be made in regard to the trauma that this family have now been subjected to for nearly two years due to multiple human rights violations.”

Moses Tarfa



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