Nigeria police rescued more than 200 people who were locked in a rice-processing factory and forced to work since the outbreak of the pandemic which led to the lockdown.
Since March the men were allegedly not allowed to leave the mill premises in the northern city of Kano Nigeria.
The factory workers were promised an additional $13 (£10) a month on top of their $72 monthly salary and for those who did not accepted the offer were threatened with the sack.
About 5 of the managers at the Indian-owned mill have been arrested.The company, called Popular Farms, has not responded to BBC requests for comment.
Police spokesman, Abdullahi Haruna, told the BBC that the plant had now been shut down and the owners were being investigated for “holding the men against their will”.
The spokesman told BBC that about 126 people had been found, although workers said they were up to 300 in total, working.
One of the Rescue 28 -year old, Hamza Ibrahim, in Kano, spoke on how they were force to work with little food and no personal contact.
“We were allowed to rest for only a short time, no prayers were allowed, no family visits,”
‘Living like animals’
The police discovered the incident after one of the workers tipped a human Right Resource personnel, Karibu Yahaya Kabara, he said;
“What I saw was heart breaking.
Where the company kept these people to live isn’t fit for animals,”
“Their meals weren’t enough and there were no drugs for those that took ill,”
Mr Kabara said his organisation was taking up the case to ensure that the men got justice.
Nigeria has be on a serious lockdown since March as per the government directives to stop the spread of the virus.
Nigeria had more than 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
The South of Lagos remains the most infected but Kano has the most cases.That is why the government issued a strict directive to reduce the movement of people in Kano, giving them Three days, which are Monday’s, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
But the workers say they were rather asked to double their work load during these period of rush being sacked.
But after they all agreed to stay and work they discovered they had been prevented from ever leaving the mill.