Amnesty International, AI, on Tuesday, warned that Nigeria might lose a generation to insurgency in the North-East.
AI declared that Nigeria must urgently address its failure to protect and provide education to an entire generation of children in the region devastated by years of Boko Haram atrocities and gross violations by the military.
In a 91-page report entitled “We dried our tears: Addressing the toll on children of North-East Nigeria’s conflict,” Al said the report examined how alleged military’s widespread unlawful detention and torture had compounded the suffering of children from Borno and Adamawa states, who faced war crimes and crimes against humanity at the hands of Boko Haram.
AI also alleged how international donors had bankrolled a flawed programme that claimed to reintegrate former alleged fighters, but which overwhelmingly amounts to unlawful detention of children and adults.
Amnesty Acting Director of Crisis Response, Joanne Mariner, said: “The past decade of bitter conflict between Nigeria’s military and Boko Haram has been an assault on childhood itself in North-East Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities risk creating a lost generation unless they urgently address how the war has targeted and traumatized thousands of children.
“ Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked schools and abducted large numbers of children as soldiers or ‘wives,’ among other atrocities. The Nigerian military’s treatment of those who escape such brutality has also been appalling
“ From mass, unlawful detention in inhumane conditions, to meting out beatings and torture and allowing sexual abuse by adult inmates — it defies belief that children anywhere would be so grievously harmed by the very authorities charged with their protection.
“ Between November 2019 and April 2020, Amnesty International interviewed more than 230 people affected by the conflict, including 119 who were children when they suffered serious crimes by Boko Haram, the Nigerian military, or both.
“ This included 48 children held in military detention for months or years, as well as 22 adults who had been detained with children.”