Human Rights Watch’s Reports On IDP Abuse, President Buhari Calls For Action
President Muhammadu Buhari is worried and shocked by the recently released Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which alleges sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls in camps for those displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The welfare of these most vulnerable of Nigerian citizens has been a priority of his government. Nigerians and the international community can rest assured that the allegations raised in the HRW are not being taken lightly.
President Buhari has instructed the Inspector General of Police and the state governors of the affected states to immediately commence investigations into the issue. Their findings will determine the next course of action for the government and define an appropriate response.
While the Nigerian military continues to work hard so that these unfortunate victims of Boko Haram terrorism can soon return safely to their homes, the government will do its best to ensure their protection and welfare in the temporary IDP camps.
“President Buhari has instructed the inspector general of police and the state governors of the affected states to immediately commence investigations into the issue.”
Four people told HRW they had been drugged and raped. Thirty-seven said they had been coerced into sex through false promises of marriage and material and financial assistance. A 17-year-old girl said she was raped by a policeman.
“One day he demanded to have sex with me. I refused but he forced me,” she said. She said he threatened to shoot and kill her when she discovered she was pregnant.
A 16-year-old who fled an attack on Baga, near Lake Chad, said she was drugged and raped in May 2015 by a local militia member in charge of distributing aid in a camp.
“There are no reported cases of infractions of law by policemen on or off duty,” Don Awunah, a spokesman for Nigeria’s national police force, said on Monday in response to the allegations.
An army spokesman declined to comment on allegations related to soldiers and referred the matter to the defence ministry. A spokesman for the department could not be reached by phone and did not respond to a text message.
Boko Haram, which controlled a swathe of land in the northeast around the size of Belgium early last year, has largely been pushed back to its base in the northeast’s vast Sambisa forest in recent months.