The Nigerian Army is just as guilty as Boko Haram; Amnesty International warns

The Boko Haram-led insurgency in Nigeria is one which has lasted for over a decade and recent happenings suggest that unless there is a change in course of action, it may well go on for a long time.

The Shekau-headed sect has been on the receiving end of not just the worst of wishes from Nigerians but also fire from the Nigerian army in attempt to quell insurgency. 

The narrative many Nigerians are familiar with is that Boko Haram has slaughtered many an innocent citizen and the army has often been helpless in stopping them.

What they aren’t familiar with is how thousands of Borno indigenes have met their end at the hands of the soldiers deployed to shield them from terrorists.

The latest report of popular human rights organisation, Amnesty International,indicates that  over 10,000 people have lost their lives at the hands of the military since 2011. These people, according to the report titled ‘My heart is in pain: Older people’s experience of conflict, displacement, and detention in North-East Nigeria’, were arrested in the course of investigating the activities of Boko Haram and met their end in custody. 

The report further stated that up to 25 per cent of the casualties are aged men and women who are most affected and vulnerable during Boko Haram and military raids on villages and communities.

And so far, nobody has been held responsible for such acts by the military which qualify as crimes against humanity. These Amnesty’s investigations will sure puncture the (sympathetic public perception of an army that comes up short against insurgent elements. 

More importantly, just as the #LekkiShootings incident, it’s rather ironic that the army would not hesitate to open fire on citizens it swore to protect but will struggle to display the misplaced gallantry against the real terrorists. 

Overall, this proves that crimes against humanity and gross abuse of human rights have been tolerated for the army for so long and the refusal to hold them responsible either through their chiefs or judicial panel will continue to leave Nigerians terrified.

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