â€¢ Lake Chad region, a global humanitarian crisis centre
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
A group, Plan International, has called for a thorough investigation into the allegations of gross human rights violations levelled against the Nigerian military by Amnesty International (AI) in the conduct of their activities at the Internally Displaced Personsâ€™ camps in the North-east
The Plan Internationalâ€™s Country Director in Nigeria, Mr. Hussaini Abdu, said AIâ€™s report titled: â€˜They betrayed us,â€™ must not be discarded and overlooked.
Abdu in a statement thursday by the Communications Advisor of the international organisation, Mr. Yunus Abdulhamid, said that consistent report of human rights violations levelled against the security agencies and government officials can no longer be ignored.
He said: â€œThe Amnesty International report raises a serious alarm and must not be swept under the carpet.
â€œThe allegations of gross violations by the Nigerian security forces must be thoroughly investigated by the government and perpetrators must be brought to justice.
â€œGirls and women fleeing Boko Haram insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria have experienced some of the worst atrocities and extreme forms of physical and sexual violence, including rape.
â€œThere are consistent reports that these violations have been perpetrated not just by insurgents but also other actors, including government officials. This is totally unacceptable and must be addressed as an urgent priority.â€
According to Abdu, mechanisms must be put in place for survivors to report incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse, and have access to justice.
He said it is also critical that training and oversight of troops emphasise that sexual exploitation and sexual violence are unlawful and violate the rights of women and girls.
He noted that Plan International has been strongly advocating for systematic protection of displaced adolescent girls who are particularly vulnerable due to their age and gender. This, he said, includes preventing and responding to sexual and gender based violence.
He advised that the â€œSurvivors of sexual violence must be able to access the full range of psychosocial support services, including essential sexual and reproductive healthcare, case management and referral services.â€
Abdu further noted that while Plan International Nigeria does not have active presence in camps hosting displaced populations, the organisation work largely in communities hosting IDPs.
â€œWe have no presence in the â€˜satellite campsâ€™ mentioned in the Amnesty International report,â€ he said.
He stated that since 2014, Plan International Nigeria has been active in education, nutrition, protection and health sectors in Nigeria.
He further stated: â€œWe have project presence in 10 states including Borno, Adamawa, Cross River, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kaduna and Abuja as the Country Office. The organisation has humanitarian field offices in Mubi, Adamawa State and Maiduguri, Borno State. We are working in the sectors of Education in Emergencies, Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence as well as Livelihoods with a focus on Youth Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods as Protection Enabler.
â€œOur response is targeting internally displaced persons as well the host communities. Our Response in North-east Nigeria is part of Plan Internationalâ€™s regional Lake Chad Programme, which responds to the needs of people affected in the Lake Chad Crisis in Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria.â€
Abdu disclosed that this year, Plan International has so far: identified and supported 529 cases of gender-based violence; reached over 12000 children with mobile Child Friendly Spaces where children and learn and play in a safe environment; screened more than 22,000 children for malnutrition; built 32 temporary learning spaces; enrolled 5,752 girls and 5,333 boys in school via mobile units; provided cash assistance to over 6,700 vulnerable people and provided educational material to more than 938 children
In a related development, Abdu said that the Lake Chad Basin crisis remains one of the largest humanitarian emergencies in the world and continues to affect the North-East of Nigeria, the Far North Region of Cameroon, the Lac Region of Chad and the Diffa Region in Niger.
According to him, around 17.4 million people live in the affected areas across the four countries.
He also said that more than 2.3 million people remain displaced, with 218,000 Nigerians living as refugees in the neighbouring countries