Several parents in the North East zone of Nigeria with pity for Boko Haram terrorist group have been donating their children to the insurgents for use as suicide bombers. Brigadier General Sani Usman, Director of Army Public Relations, said in a statement that this fact came to the fore following interrogations of some female suicide bombers recently intercepted by security operatives.
He appealed to religious, traditional and community leaders as well as well-meaning Nigerians in the North-East, to dissuade their people from donating their daughters to Boko Haram for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions.
Hajiya Binta Ibrahim, Public Relations Officer, National Council of Women Societies has condemned the actions of parents who donate their daughters to Boko Haram for suicide missions.
She called on parents and guardians in Borno to stop the practice as it was inhuman to donate children to be sacrificed for whatever reason or motive.
“We are calling on states and civil society organizations to assist in protecting the large number of children on the streets, by helping them get back to school”.
Many in Nigeria will see this as the usual victim blaming the Nigerian government is known for:
* In 2014 while the school girls were kidnapped in Chibok many close ally of the then President Goodluck Jonathan waved it off as a political story suggesting that Northern politicians were behind it “just to make the President look bad”. Till date many still do.
*In 2013, the Nigerian Army practically invade Baga under the excuse of looking for Boko Haram fighters. The New York Times described the situation by saying the Army applied
“scorched-earth standards” in their fight against Boko Haram, with civilians routinely killed during operations in poor neighborhoods. Massacres prior to the Baga massacre were commonly employed as punitive measures against the civilian population, without legal consequences in Nigeria
Amnesty International also cried out but this was dismissed by the Army as Brigadier General Chris Olukolade named anyone blaming the Army for the mass murder a sympathiser of Boko Haram.
* There has also been the issue of Giwa Barracks which Amnesty International described as a place of death. A prison facility in the Barrack was run by the Nigerian Army wherein children and even babies are detained and sometimes die from starvation.
“The discovery that babies and young children have died in appalling conditions in military detention is both harrowing and horrifying,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty’s research and advocacy director for Africa.
“We have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the high death rate of detainees in Giwa barracks but these findings show that, for both adults and children, it remains a place of death.” Amnesty International said just last year.
Amnesty International has also claimed that since 2011, more than 8,000 young men and even younger boys have been shot or starved or suffocated or tortured to death in Nigerian military custody.
Many hope that the recent allegation that parents willfully give out their children to Boko Haram is not the excuse for which the military show no mercy on other civilians.