Amnesty International recently released a report that reveals the sad death of Nigerian children in military detention.
The group says about 149 people have lost their lives in military custody at Giwa Barracks. Out of the dead victims, 11 were children under the age of 6; 4 were babies.
Nigerian military confinements are anything but paradise. They are incredibly sordid in nature. It is not conducive for adults, how much more for children at the tender stages of their lives.
The confinement in question is Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, the North-eastern part of Nigeria. It is a detention center specifically used to keep Boko Haram terrorist suspects. The facility has been badly reputed for its filthy and unhealthy conditions.
The Amnesty group backs up their claim with testaments of former detainees who have first hand experience in the confinement. According to them, some have died in there from such things as unattended diseases/health conditions, gunshot wounds, torture, hunger and dehydration.
Detainees at Giwa Barracks are grossly neglected. They confirmed that children die in miserable states.
“Overcrowding and the conditions there were clearly contributing to a situation where children were dying.” – Colm O Cuanachain, Amnesty International.
The Nigerian military maintains that the detainees are terror suspects. One wonders what that has to do with the idea of detaining babies and toddlers as well?
One explanation for it is in cases of arrested mothers who are terror suspects. That not withstanding, totally neglecting the needs of babies and children below the age of 6 is inexcusable. The pressure to put an end to the Boko Haram menace has been blamed for the sad situation.
“Many of the young children were detained when their mothers were arrested, while others were born in detention”
In an interview with Aljazeera, Colm O Cuanachain, a senior official with Amnesty International, says that over 120 people out of the 1200 detained in Giwa Barracks are children. About 50 children were released at the beginning of the year.