Three soldiers, two policemen and a prison official have been arrested for allegedly raping Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East.
Arrested alongside the soldiers and policemen for the same offence were one prison official, a member of staff, Borno Ministry of Agriculture and two members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, Borno State.
The officials were accused of involving in sexual exploitation and abuse of IDPs in the North-East.
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, disclosed this on Tuesday, in Abuja, adding that if indicted the policemen and other security operatives involved in the alleged crime would be dismissed and prosecuted after investigation.
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Human Rights Watch, had in its report accused camp officials, vigilance groups, soldiers and policemen of engaging in sexual harassment of women and teenagers in IDP camps in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
A few of the victims told Human Rights Watch that they were drugged and raped while 37 were coerced into sex through false marriage promises, material and financial assistance.
Shocked by the allegations, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the IG and the state governments to carry out a thorough investigation into the alleged incidents.
But responding to questions shortly before the commencement of his monthly conference with senior police officers in Abuja, the IG said the police would liaise with the Army and the Air Force to make their indicted officials available for interrogation.
He said, “From the findings so far, we have succeeded in our investigation. A number of suspects have been arrested and they include two policemen, three army officers, one prison official; one Air Force officer, an employee of the Borno State Ministry of Agriculture and two members of the Civilian JTF.”
Idris stated that the force had put in mechanisms, including the deployment of female police officers to IDP camps in order to check recurrence.
On the Rivers rerun election, the IG said the force had begun the deployment of personnel to the state, adding that he would be in the state on Thursday to meet with the security personnel on election duty.
Asked to respond to the allegation by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, that the police were colluding with the All Progressives Congress to rig the forthcoming rerun election in the state, Idris declined to comment, stating that he had a good working relationship with all the 36 state governors.
He said, “I don’t want to trade allegations with the governor on the pages of newspapers; we have 36 governors in the country and I have a good relationship with them; that is my answer.”
The IG directed the Commissioners of Police in various commands across the country to be involved in the process of payment of allowances to police personnel on election duty.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday, in Katsina, assured Nigerians that the insurgency in the North-East would soon become history.
He gave the assurance in his message at the first biannual public lecture organised by the Federal University, Dutsin-ma, Katsina State.
Buratai, who was represented by the Commander, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Brig.-Gen. C. A. Apere, said, “May I use this opportunity to state that the war against Boko Haram insurgency has been won.
“What we see lately are the rumblings of a dying group. The Nigerian Army will in the next few days completely ransack the Sambisa forest and elsewhere with the clear aim of finally destroying the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists.”
The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, in his address on the occasion, regretted that efforts at checking security challenges in parts of the North might remain elusive without addressing what he described as illiteracy and poverty in the area.
He declared, “Illiteracy is a serious problem in the North-West and it will continue to retard our progress and peace work, and we have to go back and address our educational foundation in order to avoid people being brainwashed.
“We may have decapitated Boko Haram but what are we doing to avoid the emergence of another group?”
Professor Abubakar Mohammed of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in his lecture titled, “Security Challenges in Nigeria: Case of northern states,” described aspects of security challenges in the country as ‘‘lucrative’’.
He observed that the Federal Government, for instance, spends about $160m annually to check security challenges in the Niger Delta region alone.