- Saraki laments death of Abu-Ali
The Nigerian Army said monday that it had so far released about 1,271 detainees after clearing them of any link with the Boko Haram terrorists group.
Brig.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, disclosed this while speaking at a forum for the reintegration of children associated with armed forces or armed groups in Maiduguri.
Ezugwu, who was represented by Col. Yusuf Ali, said that most of those released were women and children.
“The Nigerian Army gives utmost priority to the rights of detainees especially women and children.
“We always try to fast track investigation to determine their fate, while those found innocent were released with out delay,” he said.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ezugwu added: “Consequently, between February and October this year we have had five releases.
“In February 135 persons comprising mainly women and children were released, 204 were released in May, while the remaining three releases were carried out in September and October.”
He said the army had also improved on the provision of welfare for the detainees.
“As part of the military high command care for the vulnerable persons under our protective custody.
“We have identified areas needing attention including feeding, health care, decongestion of cells, respect for detainees rights, sanitation and personal hygiene,” Ezugwu said.
He said children and vulnerable persons were fed three times daily with balanced diet.
“We always provide meat or fish in every meal and drinks every Sunday for them.
“If fact, some of those released would have preferred to remain with us if they had the choice rather than move to IDP camps,” he said.
Ezugwu commended the organisers of the forum, saying the event was timely.
However, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lamented the demise of the soldiers, describing Ali as one of the nation’s vibrant and promising officers in the Nigerian Army.
He said: “We have lost a fine soldier and patriotic young Nigerian. This sacrifice is one of the many that Nigerians and most especially, the Armed Forces, have made in taming the misguided terrorists in our land.
“The death of Lt. Colonel Ali is a big burden that this nation is bearing in the bid to restore peace to all parts. We have lost hundreds of our security operatives and innocent Nigerians in the struggle.
“My heart goes out to Ali’s young wife and three children. My heart also goes out to Ali’s father, Brig. Gen. Abu Ali (rtd) who had equally served the nation as a soldier.