Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri and Philip Nwosu
Amnesty International has demanded justice for the thousands of victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast states, saying it is the only way to heal the wound created by the violence in the region.
Amnesty Country Director, Osai Ojigho, who was in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, at the weekend on a solidarity visit to some women affected by Boko Haram insurgency, said the violence has affected the fabric of family life with hundreds of people randomly killed, arrested or kidnapped either by the military forces or insurgents. “Insurgency has greatly affected family life. Many families don’t even know the whereabouts of their beloved ones. Many are victims of military arrests, sexual harassment and exploitation either by the military troops or Boko Haram, brutality or conscription by the insurgents.
“Many husbands have been killed by the military without trials or by Boko Haram. For us, we believe the only way to heal the wound is to ensure justice and punish those who perpetrated these atrocities,” she said.
The head of the global human rights watch in Nigeria said she led a team of two to Borno to identify with over 2, 000 women called the Knifar women, whose husbands were either killed or arrested by the military and kept for over three years without trial.
She said the women have been demanding explanations from the authority on the whereabouts of their husbands, sons, fathers and uncles who were arrested in the wake of the violence in Borno but never returned since. She said Amnesty International has raised awareness and global solidarity to demand for the rights of the women.
“We are joining the women and other affected persons to demand for answers to some questions. Why has it taken us over 10 years to get over this crisis, how many people are affected, taken away by the military or the insurgents, where are they and how many are dead or alive? Who are the perpetrators? Why is it difficult to arrest the Boko Haram commanders and bring them to justice for their acts?” she asked.
She said there have been outpouring of support and solidarity for the Knifar women from France, India, United Kingdom, US, Germany and some parts of Nigeria.
She appealed to the government to act in the interest of justice. “Justice must be served for the people to move on from the painful past,” she said as she presented all the solidarity messages from across the world to the Knifar women.
Initiator, Jire Dole Network of Victims and Relations of Conflict in the Northeast, Hajiya Hamsatu Allamin, said the network was overwhelmed by the huge solidarity across the world for the people affected by the crisis in the northeast.
“We never knew the little efforts we are putting for these women and relations were being monitored and appreciated elsewhere,” she said.
She urged Nigerians to show empathy and support victims of violence or crisis in any part of the country.
Some of the women thanked Amnesty International for their solidarity and appealed to the group not to be weary of its advocacy and activism by demanding for the rights of the vulnerable ones in the society.
“We’ve been hearing what you’re doing,” 30-years-old Fatima Bukar said. “We won’t give up our demands for the release of our husbands and brothers,” Yakura Hajara, 25, said.
Both Fatima and Yakura said their husbands have been in military detention for over three years.
…Army to adopt new strategy for B’ Haram war –Buratai
The Nigerian Army said it would continue to evolve new strategies that will finally end insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who gave the assurance, said the Army will also be seeing to the educational needs of children of soldiers killed in battle front, from primary to university level.
Buratai spoke at the Ikeja Military Cantonment in Lagos, assuring that the force will deal decisively with Boko Haram terrorists. He urged the media to stop “applauding the activities of the insurgents through their write ups.
The COAS particularly accused the social media of providing the energy for the insurgents to carry out their activities through their write ups, adding that the force will also not relent in providing troops the necessary welfare to energies them to continue to deal with the insurgents.
He urged commanders of the force to ensure that they provide adequate welfare for their troops to enable them perform optimally.
The army chief toured the three barracks in Lagos, including Ikeja Military Cantonment, where he commissioned projects that were intended to boost the morale of the troops.
Buratai advised the media against publishing unverified information, which might endanger national security.
He said: “We call on the media to be very cautious and careful in disseminating information without proper verification.”
He said that disseminating unverified information not only negatively affect lives of gallant soldiers fighting insurgency but also detrimental to the country’s security.
“The insurgency we are facing is something that we will continue to address as they appear and manifest in different forms and shapes,” he said.
He later proceeded to the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Yaba, where he inaugurated the newly reconstructed facility, which has operating theatre and other medical amenities.
On the inauguration and inspection of the projects within the barracks, Buratai said he was glad that the welfare of officers and men were being taken care of.