Amnesty International (AI), a globally renowned human rights organization, has decried the federal government’s inability to hold the Nigerian military and insurgent groups accountable for various instances of human rights violation, especially against women and girls across the country.
Backstory: The organization made this known in a statement issued by its Media Manager, Isa Sani, on Thursday. The statement raised concerns over gender based violence especially in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and violence experienced by female detainees by security officers, in a bid to extract a confession. These violations it says has continued to occur despite the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act by the National Assembly in 2015.
Military’s Infringement of Human Rights, Overlooked: While acknowledging the role of insurgents like Boko Haram in the rising rate of human abuse in Nigeria, AI expressed disappointment in the actions of the Nigerian military, which was set up to protect the people. It referenced reported cases of “arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions”, among others.
It had also in a report released in 2018 titled, “They Betrayed Us”, accused the military and the Civilian Joint Task Force (Civilian JTF), of sexually abusing women and girls in IDP camps, sometimes in exchange for food.
The organization has however urged the federal government, not to look away, but do what it can to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to book.
Bottom Line: The Nigerian military is a badly behaved one. There is no way to sugarcoat that fact. When it is not aligning with politicians to commit electoral malpractices, it is being accused of grave abuses as highlighted by AI. The bigger problem though is that every single time, the Nigerian government chooses to look away while these abuses go on. Gone are those early days of the Buhari presidency when he promised that issues like this will be investigated.