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 About the recent report Human Right Watch on sexual abuse of IDPs, here is a complete report Punch.

A report Human Rights Watch,
detailing alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls in Internally
Displaced Persons’ camps Nigerian government and security officials,
has attracted anger and condemnation from groups and individuals.
The HRW report, which was made public in
Abuja on Monday, prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to order an
investigation into the development, with a pledge to bring those found
culpable to book.
Meanwhile, Buhari on Monday instructed
that the alleged exploitation of women and girls in the IDPs camps as
contained in the HRW report, be investigated.
The President’s directive was contained in a statement his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, Buhari would
wait for the outcome of the investigations before deciding his next
line of action on the matter.
The presidential spokesman said the President was “worried and shocked” the HRW report.
He said, “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.”
The report HRW accused government
officials as well as security officials of raping and sexually
exploiting women and girls displaced the Boko Haram criminal
The report accused the government of not
doing enough to protect displaced women and girls and ensuring that
they had access to basic rights and services.
It also faulted the government for not
taking action against the abusers, who, it alleged, included camp
leaders, vigilance groups, policemen and soldiers.
The HRW said in July 2016, it documented
sexual abuses, including rape and exploitation, of 43 women and girls
living in seven IDPs’ camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
It explained that the victims were from
Borno towns and villages, including Abadam, Bama, Baga, Damasak, Dikwa,
Gamboru Ngala, Gwoza, Kukawa and Walassa.
The Senior Nigeria Researcher at the
HRW, Mausi Segun, was quoted in the report as saying, “It is bad enough
that these women and girls are not getting the much-needed support for
the horrific trauma they suffered at the hands of Boko Haram.
“It is disgraceful and outrageous that people, who should protect these women and girls, are attacking and abusing them.”
Four of the victims told HRW that they
were drugged and raped, while 37 were coerced into sex through false
marriage promises and material and financial assistance.
Many of those coerced into sex said they were abandoned in case of pregnancy.
A situational assessment of IDPs in the
North-East in July, 2016, NOI Polls, a Nigerian research
organisation, stated that 66 per cent of 400 displaced persons in
Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states alleged that camp officials sexually
abused the displaced women and girls.
Women and girls abused members of the
security forces and vigilance groups told HRW they felt powerless and
feared retaliation if they reported the abuse.
In one heartrending narration, a
17-year-old girl said just over a year after she fled the frequent Boko
Haram attacks in Dikwa, a town, 56 miles from Maiduguri, a policeman
approached her for “friendship” in the camp, but turned around to raped
She added, “One day, he demanded to have
sex with me. I refused, but he forced me. It happened just that one
time, but soon, I realised I was pregnant. When I informed him about my
condition, he threatened to shoot and kill me if I told anyone else. So,
I was too afraid to report him.”
Meanwhile, the National Emergency
Management Agency said none of its staff was indicted in the report,
adding that no NEMA official was involved in the allegations raised by
the HRW.
NEMA stated that although it coordinated activities in the IDPs’ camps, its officials did not reside in any of the camps.
The Senior Information Officer at NEMA, Mr. Sani Datti, said, “The report did not indict any of our officials.
“It mentioned other security agencies;
no NEMA official was reported to have been involved in such act.
Meanwhile, it is important to tell you that none of our officials lives
in any of the camps.
“Several organisations are involved in
the camps and we call them sectors. We coordinate all these sectors, but
we don’t live in the camps and that is why we can boldly tell you that
none of our officials is involved or indicted in the allegations raised
that report.”
The Acting Director, Defence
Information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said the military had always
ensured the protection of the rights of Nigerians in all its operations,
stressing that the situation in the IDPs’ camps was not an exception.
He called on Human Rights Watch
International to come forward with evidence of such acts for appropriate
action rather than resorting to media warfare.
He said, “We protect the lives and human
dignity of our citizens especially the Internally Displaced Persons,
who are supposed to be in a very sorry state. We don’t condone anything
as abuse of human rights, let alone the rights of IDPs.
“Just of recent, we dismissed a soldier
and jailed him for three years for molesting a child in Maiduguri. So,
if we can do that, it shows that we don’t tolerate this kind of thing.
However, as I said, we are not going to take issue with them (HRW).
“If there is any evidence, they should please come forward; they should not make it a media war.
The police spokesman, Donald Awunah,
could not be reached on Monday for comment on the alleged sexual
exploitation of women in IDP camps policemen.
He did not return calls and SMS to his mobile.
Groups, individuals condemn sexual abuse in camps
A security analyst, Ben Okezie, endorsed the presidential directive to the IG to probe the allegations.
He said, “The allegations should be
thoroughly investigated and indicted officers should be shown the way
out of the security forces. The IDPs have been dispossessed of
everything they have and any right-thinking official should act as a
father figure to these women.
“It is the bad eggs in the police and
the military that must have perpetrated such nefarious acts. The
government should not only show the bad eggs the way out of the service,
it should also go after their guarantors and shame them too. This will
send a strong signal to others.”
President of the Campaign for Democracy,
Bako Usman, expressed disgust at the news that vulnerable women and
young girls, who had suffered in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists,
were being subjected to sexual exploitation those who had been
saddled with the responsibility of rehabilitating them.
Usman stated, “It’s rather unfortunate
the condition that the IDPs have found themselves in our country, the
lack of orderliness on the part of our irresponsible personnel within
the force and NEMA officials.
“If really the war against insurgency is
won, dislodge those camps and make arrangements to resettle the victims
in their towns. The rehabilitation is taking longer than necessary. The
end result is what we are witnessing in such camps now.”
Usman called for the arrest and prosecution of those found culpable of engaging in such sexual exploitation.
The Executive Director, Access to
Justice, Mr. Joseph Otteh, said if the claim the HRW was true, the
perpetrators had committed  sacrilege and the government should
immediately set up a panel of inquiry to fish them out and punish them.
Otteh said, “If that is correct, that
would really be outrageous. It is really sacrilegious; these are people
who ran away from abuse and to learn that even where they have run for
shelter, they are still being exploited; it would just be horrendous.
“I think the government should
immediately set up a panel of inquiry to unearth the truth about this
and bring those culpable to account because this is pure sacrilege.”
The National Coordinator, Legal Defence
and Assistant Project, Mr. Chino Obiagwu, said though he could not
confirm the claims the HRW, he was aware of other illegal activities
such as diversion of relief materials in the IDPs’ camps.
Obiagwu said, “I’ve read the report, but
I cannot confirm the information in the report; but I know there are a
lot of issues such as diversion of relief materials meant for the IDPs
and falsification of information to get resources on behalf of the IDPs.
And unfortunately the agencies that are responsible for overseeing the
IDP camps have not really been talking or taking steps to investigate
these allegations.
“It is important now that the Human
Rights Watch had gone there and published claims of sexual abuse; the
authorities should set up a panel to investigate the allegations.
“More importantly, however, the IDPs
should be assisted to return home rather than remaining in the camps
permanently. They can’t be IDPs forever because once you want to make
the camps permanent home for the IDPs, there will be cases of abuse.”

Source: The Punch

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