Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Thursday, queried a report by United Kingdom-based international media outfit, Reuters, that the Nigerian military has since 2013 conducted a secret and illegal abortion programme in the terror-torn North-East zone.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said assuming but not conceding that the report by Reuters is correct, then, the news organisation did a disservice to the people of Nigeria and all lovers and advocate of human rights by keeping sealed lips since 2013 when it discovered such scheme.
HURIWA described as misleading, the report by Reuters because the group sounded the just days ago that a foreign news organisation is fanning the embers of hatred against the Nigerian Army and peddling false or exaggerated accusations supposedly to weaken the military and help arms supplies to sell more weapons to terrorists.
The Army has since denied the allegations, however, HURIWA challenged Reuters to report itself to the International Criminal Court in The Hague if it is indeed confident that it is armed with enough evidence that the Nigerian military has been carrying out illegal abortions of ladies and girls raped by Islamist militant since 2013.
“According to Reuters Investigation released on December 7, 2022, since at least 2013, the Nigerian military conducted a secret and illegal abortion programme in the northeast, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants. Those who resisted were said to have been whipped into compliance.
“The false report has raised dust in the last few hours since its release with the international community expressing concerned over alleged human rights abuses and extra-judicial actions,” the rights group said.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The ‘Abortion Assault’ report by Reuters is shocking and misleading altogether, considering that Nigeria is a State party to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
“There is little doubt that with the report the following are also culpable if at all the story is true-: 1. The UNDP in Abuja and Maiduguri. 2. The ICRC in Nigeria. 3. The Amnesty International. 4. The MSF. 5. The Borno State Government. 6. The Police.
7. All the International NGOs in the North East. Let Reuters come clean of this falsehood and cheap blackmail.
“While HURIWA assumes but not concedes that the report is factual, it is far too late as many waters have gone past the bridge, as the report stated. This brings to question why Reuters waited from 2013 till date for it to release the indicting report after thousands of rights abuses allegedly by the Nigerian military.
“HURIWA warns foreign media outlets to stop sinister reports capable of causing upheaval like in the aftermath of the EndSARS.
“Also, HURIWA challenges Reuters to report itself to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and present incontrovertible evidence it claimed to have on the case. None of those involved in this illegal and gross violation of human rights should go scot-free.”