Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north-east have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to send an independent panel to investigate allegations of sexual abuse at IDP camps.
The IDPs, who spoke in a statement issued on Monday under Knifar, a movement of women IDPs in the region, and led by Hajiya Hamsatu Allamin, a rights activist, said they were forced to deny the rape reports against men of the Nigerian Army published by Amnesty International .
The statement, which was published through the movement’s Twitter handle, reads: “The military came to Dalori with journalists to ask us displaced women if we were raped. Before the visit, the women were told to say everything is fine, that there are no issues. Is this the way our complaints are handled?
“One of our members was there. She has an 18-month-old son, fathered by a soldier. Too scared and intimidated to speak, she said nothing. No one spoke. Why are we forced to be exposed in such a way?
“It happened to us. It is real. And we formed our group to allow women to get accountability. We have said it before. We are ready to speak but we can not imagine this”
Calling on Buhari to hear their cry, they further said: "Investigate the soldiers who raped us when we were in Bama.. Our children died because there was not enough food, unless we had sex with soldiers. We have said it before: we are ready to speak to any investigation team the president sends to us. We only ask it will not be led by soldiers as they are also the ones who abused our women.”
In May, AI released a report accusing soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force of demanding sex from IDPs in exchange for food.
In responding to the allegations of the group, the military led some journalists to the IDP camps. However no case of sexual harassment was discovered.