By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja ordered Inspector-General of Police to commence immediate investigation into alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls in the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps.
This information is contained in a statement issued by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, the President is worried and shocked by the recently released Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which alleges sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls in the camps.
Buhari assured Nigerians and the international community that the allegations raised in the reports were not being taken lightly by his administration.
He, therefore, 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,” he said.
The President assured that the Nigerian military would continue to work hard to ensure that all victims of the Boko Haram insurgency returned to their homes safely.
He said his administration would do its best to ensure their protection and welfare in the temporary IDP camps.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the human rights group in July, documented alleged sexual abuse, including rape and exploitation of 43 women and girls, living in seven internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Maiduguri, Borno.
The victims were displaced from several towns and villages of Borno, including Abadam, Bama, Baga, Damasak, Dikwa, Gamboru Ngala, Gwoza, Kukawa, and Walassa.
According to the HRW’s report, four of the victims recounted to the Human Rights body how they were allegedly drugged and raped, while 37 others were coerced into sex through false marriage promises as well as material and financial assistance.
The report further indicated that many of those coerced into sex, said they were abandoned if they became pregnant.
The report said the victims and their children had suffered discrimination, abuse, and stigmatization from other camps’ residents.