…say soldiers, civilian JTF trade sex for food
‘We are silent witnesses of immense suffering’
Some women in Borno State have accused soldiers fighting terrorists of arresting their husbands and children after tagging them Boko Haram members.
According to them, 1,269 people, who are either their children or husbands, are being held in military detention facilities across the state after being tagged Boko Haram members. The about 1,300 women, who petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, also accused members of the Armed Forces of raping some of them and forcing them to trade sex for food in camps. In the four-page petition dated March 1, the displaced women said they were not allowed to leave the camps and not given enough food but instead asked to pay for extra food.
They said: “When we did not have anything left, they asked for sex.” According to the petitioners, who are mostly wives or mothers of Boko Haram suspects languishing in military detention centres across the state, young women are forced to have sex with members of the Civilian-Joint Task Force (CJTF) and soldiers to be able to feed their children.
But the spokesman for the military at the Theatre Command Headquarters of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, denied the allegations which he described as unfounded and a calculated attempt to dampen the morale of soldiers.
However, in their petition, the women, under the aegis of Knifa Movement, called on the Federal Government to free their husbands who, according to them, were wrongly arrested and detained.
While promising to participate in investigation of the terrorists, the women claimed that the military was sending Boko Haram members held at Operation Safe Corridor in Gombe State to their communities.
They wrote: “How can those criminals who killed and raped our people be allowed to live among us again, while our husbands, who are innocent, are still being detained. “We want to offer our best cooperation to prosecute the real Boko Haram members. But no one has asked us for our statement on what happened in the past years. We are pleading with you to give all victims of these conflicts the opportunity to testify before a court of law.”
According to them, their husbands and children were arrested between July and December 2015 and had since been in detention at Giwa barracks detention centre and the Maiduguri Maximum Security Prisons.
According to Premium Times, the displaced women from Bama Local Government Area claimed that apart from the psychological trauma they suffered owing to the long absence of their husbands, the military kept them in locked camps where they and their daughters were forced to trade sex for food.
Wondering why their husbands and children were kept for such a long time without trial, the women claimed they were starved and forced to sleep with soldiers in exchange for food. The petition reads in part: “Our story is a story of suffering.
In 2015 and 2016, we were kept in the horrific conditions in Bama Hospital camp, which was at that time run by the military and CJTF. We were not allowed to leave the camp and were not given enough food but instead, asked to pay for extra food.
First, we sold our jewellery. Then we sold our clothes. When we didn’t have anything left, they asked for sex.
“Young women were to have sex with the Civilian- JTF members and soldiers to be able to feed their children. Rape by the Civilian- JTF and soldiers were rampant.
“We were starved and forced to give our bodies in exchange for food. We saw our children die and there was nothing we could do. Hundreds of people lost their lives in Bama Hospital camp – we in our group alone know 799 people who died. We were the silent witnesses of immense suffering.
“In the last months, many of us have gone out of the camps to farm and collect firewood to earn a living. But there have been several attacks by Boko Haram nearby. One of our members lost her husband who went out to collect firewood. He had been released from the Giwa Barracks some months ago. We are scared to go out of the camp but we do need to eat.
“Most of us lived with Boko Haram for months and we know what they we are capable of. They killed our relatives, abducted our sons, raped our daughters. We consider ourselves lucky that we came out alive. Living under Boko Haram was hell.”
But Nwachukwu said those in military detention were real terrorists
He said: “We don’t keep people’s relatives in custody; those that we have in custody are terrorism or insurgency suspects. “If anyone is not culpable after our investigation, they are released. But those who have been found to have either actively or passively participated in terrorism activities by bearing arms or providing other forms of supports to aid terrorism and insurgency are those in custody and would be prosecuted.”
Nwachukwu urged the women to appropriately channel their demand to the Federal Ministry of Justice. He added: “Trial of suspects lies with the judiciary and I believe that they are handling it accordingly. We are all aware that the Fed eral Government had instituted some special courts to try the suspects. It is not our responsibility to try any of them.
But if somebody is found wanting after our investigations, it is not our duty to pronounced him guilty or not guilty. But we tender our reports as the case may be to those that will be prosecuting them.
The spokesman also said it was not the military which was responsible for the women’s suffering. He said: “The public must know that it was not Operation Lafiya Dole that initiated that suffering.
“In as much as we sympathise with their unfortunate situation, their misfortune was not orchestrated by the Operation Lafiya Dole troops; rather it was by Boko Haram terrorists who had been killing, and abducting their children; using their men and kids as foot soldiers, burning their houses.
“We have been the ones paying the price to protect these women and their families. We are the ones that have been at the forefront to ensure their safety, at the expense of our own lives. We have gone out of our line of duty to provide aid support to these people. We have opened schools in the camps to ensure that their children whose schools were burnt down and denied access to learning get educated. Our soldiers teach them in the schools in camps! We have brought measurable succour to these people.
We have carried out several medical outreaches to help them remain healthy. “So they should not see us as their adversary; they should face the issue squarely, Boko Haram is their enemy and a common enemy.”
My body no be wood or stone, sex-starved wife tells court, urges dissolution of union
Barely after five years of nuptial bliss, a 35 -year-old businesswoman, Mrs Bilikisu Azeez, on Monday approached an Igando Customary Court in a Lagos suburb to dissolve her sexless marriage.
“Please dissolve this union so that I can move on with my life, my body is not wood or stone,” the sex-starved wife opened up in court.
She told the court that her husband, Olusesi Azeez, starved her of sex for more than two years, a development which, she said, had affected her health.
“My husband has been starving me of sex since he married his youngest wife, he has turned me to an abandoned property.
“I have been falling sick in and out of hospital, during my last visit to the hospital, I was told that it was because I have had sex for long that is why I experience frequent sickness.”
She also accused her husband of not caring for her and the only child of the marriage, saying “my husband does not take care of me, I feed and clothe myself.
“He refused to enroll our only child, who is over four years old in school and has failed to pay his medical bills; I always run to my mother for the hospital bill.”
Bilikisu, who also accused her husband of battery, said he had beaten her publicly which resulted in her fainting.
According to her, the trouble started when her husband brought in the third wife.
She continued: “There was joy, love and peace in the house until he came with another wife, who has been fighting me also.”
Olusesi, in his response to the allegations, accepted that he starved the woman of sex.
“She once denied me of sex and since then I abandoned her.
“Yes, I starved her of sex, it is tit for tat because there was a day I entered her room to sleep with her and she left the bed to sleep on the floor.
“I made an attempt eight times to sleep with her, but she refused. So since that day, I just put her aside after all she is not the only wife I have,” he told the court.
The 45-year-old building contractor, however, agreed to the dissolution of the marriage, asking the court to grant his wife’s request.
“I am no longer interested in the marriage.”
The court’s President, Mr Akin Akinniyi, after listening to the estranged couple, advised them to explore a possible reconciliation of the crisis.
He adjourned the case until April 12 for judgment.(NAN)
Woman drags ex-husband to Court over alleged assault
A 30-year-old woman, Janet Audu has dragged her ex-husband, Ishaku Maigari, to the Magajin Gari Sharia Court in Kaduna over alleged assault and harassment.
Janet told the court that her former husband has been harassing her in public, calling her a prostitute and beating her.
She that since their separation five years ago, during which she was granted custody of their three children, Maigari has also failed to cater for the children.
“We have been separated for five years now but has refused to move on. He constantly visit my house and shop to harass and beat me”, the complainant said.
She therefore urged the court to intervene, so as to stop Maigari from assaulting and harassing her, and compel him to be a responsible father to his children.
However, when his plea was taken, the ex-husband denied all the allegations made against him, saying they were untrue.
The Judge, Malam Musa Sa’ad, asked Janet if she has any witness, which she answered in the affirmative but complained that those willing to testify were afraid of Maigari.
The case has been adjourned to March 26, for the complainant to present her witnesses.(NAN)
Dumpsite: Residents risk lung infections as Smoke envelopes Lagos
…pupils, workers at risk of lung infections
No fewer than ten communities around Ojota, Ketu, Olusosun and some parts of Alausa- Oregun are currently being enveloped by the poisonous fumes from the Olusosun dumpsite where fire erupted on Wednesday. The visibility was zero as commuters and motorists managed to drive through the thick, dark and poisonous substance which has taken over the city metropolis. While some motorists drove slowly through the thick smoke, other sped off to escape the dark potion of the road.
Pedestrians at various bus stops especially the Seven-Up axis of the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway and the Ojota Bus Stop on the Ikorodu Road rushed to take the next available buses upon alighting from other vehicles. Some were using nose guards to cover their noses others used handkerchiefs to prevent inhaling the smoke. For the scavengers near the dumpsite and on the road linking Motorway Building to Ojota Bus Stop, it was business as usual as very few of them covered their noses, saying they were used to it. Some officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), enforcing the traffic law on the erring motorists around the Seven-Up Lay-by, covered their noses.
Speaking with our correspondent, one of the workers at the dumpsite, who identified himself simply as King of Boys, said they were praying for downpour to completely put out the fire, adding that the men of the state fire service couldn’t contain the fire. According to the young man, who was posing with his cigarette while speaking with our correspondent in the smoky environment, workers around the dumpsite are used to stench and smoke but they are only relieved of the smoke at the instance of downpour. Also, a LASTMA official, who pleaded anonymity, described the smoke as an annual occurrence, saying it happened last year during rainy season.
He said: “The smoke is not new. It’s an annual thing. Too much of refuse often leads to explosion and days of fume like this. I learnt that medical team was here in the morning to share nose guards.” Asked how he was coping with the smoke, the officer retorted: “I only spend about eight hours here daily. As you can see, I just resumed about 2p.m. and I will live by 8p.m.
But if we experience health hazards as a result of our exposure to the smoke, we will report at our Oshodi headquarters for medical attention.” Also, a resident of Ikosi Road, who refused to give her name, said she couldn’t leave her present home for another area because of the difficulty in getting accommodation in Lagos.
She said they could hardly open their windows or doors for fresh air since their environment was always enveloped in stench and smoke. Meanwhile, there are concerns that thousands of pupils in public and private schools located near the site as well as residents working around the axis are at risk of lung diseases.
A resident, Mrs. Grace Shokumbi, said pupils of Ikosi-High School and other private schools were prone to lung infections while those who were asthmatic could have their condition worsened by the current development. She said: “As pupils resume in school tomorrow (today) we are more than worry with the current development. What we inhale currently is polluted oxygen. We are tired of inhaling carbon monoxide.
I am sure the concerned authorities know the implications on our health.” Analysing the health risk of exposure to smoke in the area, a medical consultant, Dr. Kinsley Edosa, said that individuals with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma), foetuses, infants, young children, and the elderly might be more vulnerable to the health effects of smoke exposure. According to him, smoke released by any type of fire (forest, bush, crop, structure, tyres, waste or wood burning) is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon- containing materials.
He said: “All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter. Smoke can contain many different chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins.
The type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature.” According to the consultant, studies have shown that some people exposed to heavy smoke have temporary changes in lung function, which makes breathing more difficult. He added that two of the major agents in smoke which could cause health effects were carbon monoxide gas and very small particles. According to experts at www.mass.gov/dep, if the smoke or air pollution continues, people may experience irritation of the eyes and throat; wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties; worsening of existing lung and heart problems such as asthma; increased risk of heart attack.
“Long exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death,” they said. When contacted on the phone, General Manager, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr. Segun Adediji, said that fire service operators and officials from Lagos State Emergence Management Agency (LASEMA) had been permanently stationed to put out the fire. According to him, one of the reasons the two agencies were stationed at Olusosun dumpsite was to continue to pour water to put out the fire, assuring that the problem would be over soon.
Explaining the cause of the fire, the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, said it was the natural outcome of the trapped gasses from the waste, escaping to cause combustion, a situation which occurs occasionally in dumpsites. According to him, waste in dumpsites naturally emit certain gasses that are occasionally released to cause combustion such as the one witnessed in Olososun dumpsite.
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