Lagos: An Amnesty International investigation has exposed sexual violence against children and women by security agents and inmates at two high-security prison facilities in Borno State, Nigeria.
The harrowing violations took place at Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison and Giwa Barracks, where thousands of civilians arrested due to claimed links to the Boko Haram armed group are being held.
Amnesty’s research also found that scores of children are being unlawfully detained alongside adults in Maiduguri Prison.
“This is another sad and disturbing case of human rights violations against civilians caught up in the Boko Haram crisis in northeast Nigeria,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.
“It is inexcusable that children are subjected to such vile treatment under government care, and likewise it is intolerable that women are once again bearing the brunt of abuse by the Nigerian security forces that are meant to protect them.”
Amnesty International has obtained court documents confirming that at least 68 children are being held in Maiduguri Prison.
The findings confirm that dozens of children are being held in the maximum security prison in connection with the Boko Haram crisis.
According to Amnesty International’s findings, the 68 boys held in Maiduguri Prison were first detained without charge by the Nigerian military in Giwa Barracks before they were transferred between late 2016 and early 2017.
“The government has so far failed in its duty to protect these children and violated its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Osai Ojigho.
“The Nigerian government must ensure the immediate transfer of all children from Maiduguri prison and those who have not been charged with a recognizable criminal offence must be released. Children suspected of criminal responsibility should only be detained in children’s facilities. The detention of children in the same cells with adults is unacceptable.”