from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – A human rights organisation has appealed to the Nigerian government to ensure the release of children detained on suspicion of links to the Boko Haram.
The military is holding them behind bars in barracks northeast of the country where the conflict perpetrated by the Islamist terror group has raged for more than a decade.
Amnesty International has written to President Muhammadu Buhari urging the release of the minors.
Buhari is also petitioned as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“The government of Nigeria has obligations to promote and protect the rights of all children,” read a letter by Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International director for Nigeria.
Amnesty International urged Buhari’s government to ensure all detainees were promptly brought before independent, civilian courts and took immediate steps to ensure children were only detained as a very last resort.
The Nigerian government has also been urged to ensure conditions of detention were humane.
Amnesty International also called for the closure of secret places of detention.
The detainees are held under allegedly hostile conditions at Giwa Barracks, Kainji military base and Maiduguri Maximum Prison among other facilities.
The number of children detained could not be ascertained.
In May, Amnesty International published a report highlighting how the military’s detention and torture had compounded the suffering of children who faced war crimes and crimes against humanity at the hands of Boko Haram.
– CAJ News