The Global Amnesty Watch (GAW) has freed the Nigerian Military of allegations of human rights violations in the North East amidst the raging war against insurgent Boko Haram terrorists which have threatened the region’s peace.
In a latest report by GAW after an investigation which was prompted by several rumours of rape and sexual harrasment of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the camps, the leading human rights group have exonerated the military in all the allegations leveled against them as according to them the allegations were found to be spurious and unfair to the military which has sacrificed much to ensue national peace and stability.
According to the report which was made available to our correspondent at the public presentation in Abuja, GAW discovered that the alleged rape cases were largely a product conscientous relationships entered into by the claimed victims in order to suplement their constrained resources but however ended in acrimonious notes.
“Some IDPs in the camps entered into sexual relations, sometimes pressured by the need to supplement their constraints resources; where such arrangements end on acrimonious notes it was not unusual for the parties involved to give damaging accounts about each other, including allegations of sexual assault”. It read in part.
The report however agreed to the fact that there were also genuine case of rape and sexual harrasment of IDPs, but added that interaction with victims failed to specify that such defilement was the handiwork of millitary personnel.
“There are genuine rape survivors that were able to establish that they were violated against their will in incidents that were frequent and continued for some length of time.
It was impossible to conclusively establish that the rapes and abuses were carried out by military personnel as it was found that some male IDPs and even camp officials were able to claim “military connection” to commit such acts”.
In the report signed by its Country Representative Africa Affairs, Helen Adesola, GAW has also berated media attempts to blow out of proportion such incidents in a bid to blackmail the military and victimise certain individuals, thereby undermining the sterling efforts of the military at the war front.
“Some of the approaches to reporting the incidents in the camps, like a recent one by the New York Times, weaponizes rape allegations into something that unscrupulous people can use to blackmail or indict anyone they have issues with.
The New York Times publication amounts to a calculated attempt to denigrate the patriotism and the efforts that Nigerian soldiers have put into the war against terror globally”. GAW noted.
GAW’s report further condemned such claims and unfounded allegations against the millitary which it termed “patriotic actors in the fight against terror” adding that “the troops have been most embarrassed by the allegations that they were engaged in raping the Nigerians they are meant to be protecting especially with the kind of damaging piece by New York Times”.
However, GAW has also called for further investigation into the allegations in a bid to do away with the bias that had been created by the way the allegations of rape were publicised by certain groups unilaterally indicting soldiers even before a proper probe as well as the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of the survivors and indeed all IDPs in camps be given higher priority.
Meanwhile it has recommended in its report for anoverhaul of the curfew system in IDPs camps to ensure that impersonators do not have the benefit of sneaking out of their own quarters to commit havoc while pretending to be soldiers or security operatives.
Also recommening that IDPs in the various camps should be encourage to form watch groups that function like “camp police” that will provide timely information to authorities whenever they observe anything untoward while non-state actors be advised to desist from making bogus claims that are capable of eroding the gains made by the Nigerian military.