Amnesty International Accuses FG Of Obstructing Justice For 640 Boko Haram Detainees Murdered By Soldiers

Global rights group, Amnesty International (AI) has accused the Federal Government of withholding justice for the 640 detainees slaughtered by soldiers in Maiduguri barracks two years ago.

AI stated that Nigerian authorities have failed to conduct an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killings after they were slaughtered by Nigerian soldiers.

Amnesty International in a statement stated that it has repeatedly called on the government to initiate an independent and effective investigation into the crimes under international law but despite repeated promises by the government that AI’s report will be looked into, no concrete step have been taken to begin an independent investigation.

It stated, “?Two years after at least 640 recaptured detainees were slaughtered by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, the authorities have failed to conduct an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killings, said Amnesty International.

“The detainees – men and boys, many arbitrarily arrested in mass screening operations – were killed after they fled the barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state on 14 March 2014 following a Boko Haram attack. The majority were shot. The others had their throats cut. To mark the anniversary of this massacre, Amnesty International campaigners will be gathering outside Nigerian embassies around the world to call for independent investigations and prosecutions.

“It is shocking that two years after these horrific killings there has been no justice for the victims and their relatives,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

“The lack of an independent investigation has meant that no one has been held to account for the killings, strengthening an already pervasive culture of impunity within the military.”

“Amnesty International has extensively documented the events of 14 March 2014, interviewing dozens of witnesses, verifying video evidence of the killings and their aftermath and confirming the locations of mass graves through satellite imagery.

“In June 2015 Amnesty International published extensive evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by the Nigerian military. The report found that the military extrajudicially executed at least 1,200 men and boys, and almost certainly many more, between 2012 and 2014. A further 7,000 detainees died in military detention as a result of starvation thirst, disease, torture and a lack of medical attention. Torture is routinely and systematically used by security forces in Nigeria, both during arrest and in detention. Soldiers arbitrarily arrested more than 20,000 suspects since 2011 and detained the overwhelming majority of them without access to their families or lawyers, without formal charges and without ever bringing them to court.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Government of Nigeria to initiate independent and effective investigations into its evidence of crimes under international law and to implement critical safeguards against human rights violations.

“Yet, despite repeated promises by President Buhari and his government that Amnesty International’s report would be looked into, no concrete steps have been taken to begin independent investigations. Many safeguards remain absent, for example suspects continue to be held in military detention without access to their lawyers or families, without charge and without being brought before a judge.

“After more than nine months in office, President Buhari must take urgent action to provide justice for the conflict’s thousands of victims and prevent such violations occurring again.

“In the two years since the Giwa killings, the pattern of unjustified use of lethal force by the military has continued with no one held accountable,” said Netsanet Belay.

“From Giwa to Zaria, from the north east to the south east, the time has come to break the cycle of impunity that has gripped Nigeria. This should start with justice for the Giwa 640.”

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Boko Haram Offers To Swap Detained Members With Abducted Chibok Girls – Report

Amidst the admittance by the Presidency that the Nigerian government would negotiate with the Boko Haram Insurgents group, a Human Rights Activists has said that the terrorists group have made an offer to release the over 200 girls kidnapped from a boarding school in Borno last year in exchange for its members detained by the Nigerian govt.

According to Associated Press (AP), the activist said the current offer by the terrorist group is limited to the Chibok Girls alone despite claims by Amnesty International that over 2000 girls were kidnapped by the group.

The activist who AP said was involved in last year’s offer by the sect under the administration of Goodluck Jonathan and close to the current negotiators ?spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters on this sensitive issue.

The report said ?Fred Eno, an apolitical Nigerian who has been negotiating with Boko Haram for more than a year, told the AP that “another window of opportunity opened” in the last few days, though he could not discuss details.

He said the recent slew of Boko Haram bloodletting — some 350 people killed in the past nine days — is consistent with past ratcheting up of violence as the militants seek a stronger negotiating position.

Presidential adviser Femi Adesina said on Saturday that Nigeria’s government “will not be averse” to talks with Boko Haram. “Most wars, however furious or vicious, often end around the negotiation table,” he said.

?Eno, according to the report said the 5-week-old administration of President Muhammadu Buhari offers “a clean slate” to bring the militants back to negotiations that had become poisoned by the different security agencies and their advice to Jonathan.

Two months of talks last year led government representatives and Eno to travel in September to a northeastern town where the prisoner exchange was to take place, only to be stymied by the Department for State Service intelligence agency, the activist said.

At the last minute, the agency said it was holding only four of the militants sought by Boko Haram, the activist said.

It is not known how many Boko Haram suspects are detained by Nigeria’s intelligence agency, whose chief Buhari fired last week.

The activist said the agency continues to hold suspects illegally because it does not have enough evidence for a conviction, and any court would free them. Nigerian law requires charges be brought after 48 hours.

Thousands of suspects have died in custody, and some detainees wanted by Boko Haram may be among them. Amnesty International alleges that 8,000 detainees have died in military custody — some have been shot, some have died from untreated injuries due to torture, and some have died from starvation and other harsh treatment.

In May, about 300 women, girls and children being held captive by Boko Haram were rescued by Nigeria’s military, but none were from Chibok. It is believed that the militants view the Chibok girls as a last-resort bargaining chip.

In that infamous abduction, 274 mostly Christian girls preparing to write science exams were seized from the school by Islamic militants in the early hours of April 15, 2014. Dozens escaped on their own in the first few days, but 219 remain missing?.

?Boko Haram has not shown them since a May 2014 video in which its leader, Abubakar Shekau warned: “You won’t see the girls again unless you release our brothers you have captured.”

In the video, nearly 100 of the girls, who have been identified by their parents, were shown wearing Islamic hijab and reciting the Quran. One of them said they had converted to Islam.

International indignation at Nigeria’s failure to rescue the girls was joined by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. In a radio address in May 2014, she said she and President Barack Obama are “outraged and heartbroken” over the abduction.

?Jonathan’s government initially denied there had been any mass abduction and delays of a rescue that might have brought the girls home became a hallmark of his other failures. He steadfastly refused to meet with the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners, charging they were politicizing the issue.

On Wednesday, President Buhari welcomed those campaigners at the presidential villa in Abuja and pleaded “We only ask for your patience.” He said “The delay and conflicting reaction by the former government and its agencies is very unfortunate.”

Campaign leader Oby Ezekwesili said, “The rescue of our Chibok girls is the strongest statement that this government could make to shog respect for the sanctity and dignity of every Nigerian life.”

There have been unconfirmed reports that some of the girls have been taken to neighboring countries, and that some have been radicalized and trained as fighters. At least three were reported to have died — one from dysentery, one from malaria and one from a snake bite.

Last year, Shekau said the girls were an “old story,” and that he had married them off to his fighters.

Lawan Zanna, whose daughter is among the captives, said this week that 14 Chibok parents have died since the mass kidnapping, many from stress-related illnesses blamed on the ordeal.

Some of the Chibok girls who managed to escape have been rejected by their community and now live with family friends, tired of hearing taunts like “Boko Haram wives.”

The assumption that all girls and women held by the group have been raped is a difficult stigma to overcome in Nigeria’s highly religious and conservative society.

Jonathan’s government initially denied there had been any mass abduction and delays of a rescue that might have brought the girls home became a hallmark of his other failures. He steadfastly refused to meet with the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners, charging they were politicizing the issue.

On Wednesday, President Buhari welcomed those campaigners at the presidential villa in Abuja and pleaded “We only ask for your patience.” He said “The delay and conflicting reaction by the former government and its agencies is very unfortunate.”

Campaign leader Oby Ezekwesili said, “The rescue of our Chibok girls is the strongest statement that this government could make to showg respect for the sanctity and dignity of every Nigerian life.”

There have been unconfirmed reports that some of the girls have been taken to neighboring countries, and that some have been radicalized and trained as fighters. At least three were reported to have died — one from dysentery, one from malaria and one from a snake bite.

Last year, Shekau said the girls were an “old story,” and that he had married them off to his fighters.

Lawan Zanna, whose daughter is among the captives, said this week that 14 Chibok parents have died since the mass kidnapping, many from stress-related illnesses blamed on the ordeal.

Some of the Chibok girls who managed to escape have been rejected by their community and now live with family friends, tired of hearing taunts like “Boko Haram wives.”
The assumption that all girls and women held by the group have been raped is a difficult stigma to overcome in Nigeria’s highly religious and conservative society.

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The Transfer of Boko Haram Detainees to Ekwulobia Prisons: Obiano’s True Position

The attention of the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has been drawn to the cover story of Vanguard and Daily Independent on Friday, July 3, 2015, crediting him with some comments on the transfer of Boko Haram detainees to Ekwulobia Prisons in Anambra State.

We wish to inform the general public that Governor Obiano NEVER made any comments to these publications. Since the eruption of this controversy, Governor Obiano’s position has been consistent. This is fully reflected in the two Press Statements issued on Sunday, June 28, 2015 and Wednesday July 1, 2015. In both statements, his message was simple – he re-assured Ndi Anambra that he was on top of the situation and that he was speaking with the relevant authorities to achieve a peaceful resolution of the issue. Governor Obiano’s commitment to this extremely sensitive issue remains the same.

The Limit to Bitter Politics

For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Willie Obiano is aware of the strong feelings provoked by Boko Haram among Ndi Anambra and the people of the South East. Therefore, he shall never use this subject of pain and anguish to play politics. Those who are not held back by any moral considerations in their pursuit of power, cheap popularity and vendetta are free to play with the agony of the people for their narrow interests. But for Obiano, certain things are bigger than politics. He therefore appeals to Ndi Anambra to go about their normal businesses while he continues to engage the relevant authorities on the matter.

Signed
James Eze
Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media

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