Soldiers, Police personnel and other paramilitary outfits in the North East have turned IDP camps into rape theaters.
They get the girls pregnant and then flee...
According to a report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), Soldiers and Police personnel have unleashed their sexual urges on vulnerable women and girls in IDP camps from Borno to Adamawa.
"Government officials and other authorities in Nigeria have raped and sexually exploited women and girls displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram.
"The government is not doing enough to protect displaced women and girls and ensure that they have access to basic rights and services or to sanction the abusers, who include camp leaders, vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers", the chilling report from HRW, which was first published in October, 2016, details.
One victim narrated her ordeal this way: “One day he demanded to have sex with me. I refused but he forced me. It happened just that one time, but soon I realized 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.”
One 16-year-old told HRW that: "He knew my parents were dead, because he is also from Baga. He would bring me food items like rice and spaghetti so I believed he really wanted to marry me. But he was also asking me for sex. I always told him I was too small [young]. The day he raped me, he offered me a drink in a cup. As soon as I drank it, I slept off. It was in his camp room.
"I knew something was wrong when I woke up. I was in pain, and blood was coming out of my private part. I felt weak and could not walk well. I did not tell anyone because I was afraid. When my menstrual period did not come, I knew I was pregnant and just wanted to die to join my dead mother. I was too ashamed to even go to the clinic for pregnancy care. I am so young! The man ran away from the camp when he heard I delivered a baby six months ago. I just feel sorry for the baby because I have no food or love to give him. I think he might die".
"It is bad enough that these women and girls are not getting much-needed support for the horrific trauma they suffered at the hands of Boko Haram,” said Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them.”
A 25-year-old woman had this to say about a Soldier: "If I have a gun, I will shoot him. It is because of him that people call me and my babies names. I am so ashamed that I cannot participate in camp activities and keep to myself because of the jeers".
The tales of sexual exploitation in IDP camps from the HRW report, are too numerous to reproduce here owing to time and space constraints.
On Tuesday, Nigerian authorities finally admitted that members of the Police and Armed Forces have been violating adolescent and teenage girls in IDP camps.
A couple of Soldiers and Police personnel have been arrested and are currently under investigation, authorities say.
According to Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, some Police officers have been arrested for sexually assaulting girls fleeing Boko Haram savages.
“About three or four weeks ago, I established a panel to investigate some allegations made by the Human Rights Watch.
“Investigation was conducted by the IGPs Monitoring Team at the Force Headquarters and they made contact with the Human Rights Watch in order for them to help us verify some of the allegations but, according to the response we got, they said they don’t reveal their sources of information.
“Despite that, our officers, with much tenacity and professionalism, were able to unearth some of the allegations and we have so far arrested some suspects. Some of these suspects are police officers, some are from sister agencies while some are civilians.”
Idris added that, “as I am talking to you, we have two police officers under investigation and they are in detention now. We have a prison warden, two civilian JTF, a civilian from the Ministry of Agriculture, Maiduguri who is now in our detention.
“In respect of our sister agency, we have written to them to avail us some of their personnel. These sister agencies, we are expecting three; obviously from the Army, and one from Airforce. Those are the people presently subjected to investigation.
“As usual, those in the police and the military, as a procedure, we are going to dismiss them first before we take them to court but I am assuring that they will be taken to court to answer for this criminal act which they conducted.”
Pulse did reach out to Army Spokesperson, Colonel Sani Usman, for comments on what the Military authority was doing about its men found guilty of rape in IDP camps.
Colonel Usman kept cutting the call, however. A recorded message intoned: "the subscriber you are calling is busy at the moment. Please try again later".
An automated text message from Usman's phone line returned the following: "Sorry, I can't talk right now".