SaharaReporters has just learned that officials of the Nigerian Army have illegally detained four brothers since 2013 at a detention center at Dodan Barracks in Ikoyi, Lagos. The army has held the siblings on the allegation that were Boko Haram insurgents.
The men, Haroon Abdullahi, 21 years old, Ahmed Abdullahi, 17, Mohammed Abdullahi, 14, and Yahaya Abdullahi, 9, have been in detention since March 2013.
“It’s a grave injustice that these four brothers, the youngest only nine years old, have been held by the Nigerian Army without trial for more than two years,” said a human rights activist who brought the disturbing situation to the attention of a correspondent of SaharaReporters.
Our source disclosed that the four brothers were arrested in the Mafoluku area of Lagos State in March 2013 and accused of being members of Boko Haram. “The Nigerian authorities alleged that the four boys were part of an insurgent cell planning to bomb the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos,” our source said.
SaharaReporters gathered that the detainees’ father, who hails from Borno State Nigeria, is a retired soldier of the Nigerian Army. “Malam Abdullahi relocated his family to Lagos in 2012 after life became unbearable for them in Maiduguri,” said our human rights source. According to him, the retired soldier enrolled his children in a school in Lagos to enable them to continue their education.
Said our source: “Due to inadequate accommodation, the children stayed in an abandoned, defunct Concord newspaper warehouse in Aviation Estate, in Mafoluku. Also in the compound were others, mostly of Northern origin, trapped in the makeshift shelters.
“In March 2013, the Nigerian Army carried out a joint operation with the police and agents of the Department of State Security. They raided the compound in the night, arresting many, including the four brothers.”
Added the source: “The brothers have been detained since in a facility at the Dodan Barracks. It has been 32 months now. No formal charges, no trial. And their father, Malam Abdullahi, has been fighting a lost cause in court to secure his children’s release. At every hearing, the case for his sons’ release is adjourned for months.” According to the source, the fate of the four detained male youngsters “is troubling because any Nigerian could find himself or herself in the same situation, held by the military for close to thirty-six months on the basis of a mere allegation.”