About 10,000 victims with at least 70% (7,000) of them being children have died in military detention in Nigeria from unlawful detention and torture by Nigerian security forces in Northeast, Nigeria.
Statistics revealed that over 36,000 people have died and almost two million displaced within north-east Nigeria, in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
This menace has worsened the suffering of a generation of children and tens of thousands of people in north-east Nigeria.
Amnesty International said thousands more said to have been arrested during a decade-long conflict with jihadist groups.
10-year-old Ibrahim interviewed by Amnesty International said his family had fled their village after an attack by Boko Haram when he was five and were arrested several days later by the military.
“He said we escaped from Boko Haram, but the military did not believe us,” he said. “They said that we were part of Boko Haram. They hit us children with a rope of animal skin and slapped our parents with the flat end of a long knife. They beat us every day.” He is one of the 230 people Amnesty interviewed.
Civilian militias and solders arrest many displaced on the grounds that they are linked to or supporting insurgency. Meanwhile, many had fled homes from violence from Boko Haram and other violent attacks.
The Nigerian army denied the knowledge of victims who suffered torture and years of detention without charge, trial or medical treatment in “inhumane” conditions at three centres.
One of the said centre is the Giwa barracks detention centre. Many rights groups have reported about the endemic hum,an rights violations that allegedly hold at the centre.
Abuses are also widespread at another center funded by the United Kingdom (UK) government and other international donors. The centre runs a reintegration programme for alleged jihadists and their supporters. Reports confirm that abuse is not grave in this center like others.
Col Sagir Musa, the director of public relations for the Nigerian army said: “There is no basis for the accusation. The Nigerian army has strongly debunked such malicious claims and no group has convincingly refuted our position”.
Joanne Mariner, the acting director of crisis response at Amnesty International said: “From mass, unlawful detention in inhumane conditions, to meting out beatings and torture and allowing sexual abuse by adult inmates – it defies belief that children anywhere would be so grievously harmed by the very authorities charged with their protection,” she said.
The past decade of bitter conflict between Nigeria’s military and Boko Haram has been an assault on childhood itself in north-east Nigeria,” Mariner added. “Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked schools and abducted large numbers of children as soldiers or ‘wives’, among other atrocities”.
TheGuardin.com reported that another 14-year-old boy was also arrested after fleeing abduction by Boko Haram, and then detained at Giwa barracks: “The conditions in Giwa are horrible. They could make you die. There’s no place to lie down,” he said. “Up to now, nobody has told me why I was taken there, what I did, why I was in detention.”
Thousands of Jihadists suspects have been released by Operation Safe Corridor. The army-run deradicalisation programme of (mostly) men and boys receives funding from the UK and has also released fourteen hundred Boko Haram suspects were released earlier this year.
Human rights violations still occur at the Safe Corridor but ex-detainees were positive about conditions there.
Amnesty disclosed that detainees were made to produce items such as shoes and soaps in training programmes which amounted to forced labour.
Seven detainees have died at the site and some suffered serious injuries working with caustic soda without protective equipment.
Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International, said: “The UK’s support of a military-run detention centre that is unlawfully imprisoning people, including children, and subjecting them to unsafe conditions is particularly worrying.
The UK government must work with the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the military is protecting the population and that absolutely no UK support is contributing to the vile abuses taking place in the context of the conflict”.