President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Idriss Ibrahim and governors of the affected states to investigate the allegation of sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, yesterday, vowed that the allegations raised by Human Rights Watch (HRW) would be investigated by his administration.
He added: “The welfare of these most vulnerable Nigerian citizens is a priority of his government.”
While expressing shock by the HRW report, he said Nigerians and the international community can rest assured that the allegations would be investigated.
In a related development, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has set up a task force to look into the humanitarian crises in the Niger Delta region and the North East geo-political zone of the country.
While the 14-man task force on the North East is headed by Professor Mohammed M. Tabiu (SAN), that of the Niger Delta comprised the chairman, Albert Akpomudge (SAN) and 12 others.
Inaugurating the two committees yesterday, the NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) tasked the chairmen and members to bring their experience and time to bear on their assignments.
The North East task force was charged with the responsibility of providing free legal services to individuals and communities in the region who were victims of the conflict.
The task force for the Niger Delta was commissioned to provide legal assistance and support to NBA members, individuals and communities within the region affected by the conflict.
Other responsibilities include evaluating the implementation of the Niger Delta regional development master plan and determine if the Niger Delta Development Commission Act should be amended to reflect current trends in the region.
Mahmoud stated that: “The internally displaced persons in the region are estimated to be 2.3 million which is the third largest in the world after Syria and Columbia. Also, the insurgency in the North East has affected the independence of the legal profession and the welfare of our members.”