For more than six years now, hundreds of women in Borno state have been waiting for the Nigrian government to release their husbands from military detention centers or charge them to court over alleged Boko Haram complicity.
The women have consistently insisted that their husbands and sons were innocent before they were “wrongly” picked and kept in the military detention centres as suspects.
Many of the arrests were made over five years ago but most of these women still kept their stance as fresh as ever that their spouses were undeserving of torture they’ve been subjected to all the time.
“Our husbands, children and brothers are not Boko Haram as they alleged; they are innocent and God knows the truth,” said one of the grieving women.
Another said: “My husband escaped from an attack by Boko Haram and ran here Maiduguri; but one day, they accosted him on the way and said he looks like a Boko Haram and they dragged him away to the military barracks. That was six years ago.”
“He simply went to the market hustle and get food for the children and me as he usually did. But since that fateful day, six years ago, he never came back. It was later we learnt he has been picked by soldiers and taken to the military barracks. We went to check and we saw him at Giwa barracks a couple of times but they did not allow us to talk much. All he managed to say was “I am not Boko Haram”,” another mother of three children said.
“Life is very hard without the father of my five children here to help us out,” said another grieving wife of a missing husband who is still being held in military custody.
“I did not set my eyes on him again since the day he was taken and detained by soldiers. Some people said they saw him in the barracks, but we never did. I have been left here all by myself and the children to wallow in pain with no family member coming to help. They need to tell me about my husband – if he is dead, let me mourn him, if he is still alive let them release him; and if he is guilty let them send him toncourt for trial. I’m tired of neither being a widow, a divorcee or a wife who never knew her fate.”
Yabawaye Waziri, 21 years old, said her seven relatives, including her father and husband, were arrested and detained in prison custody, said Boko Haram killed her mother, leaving her to become the breadwinner of a family of 18 persons mostly her younger ones.
Hamsatu Allamin, is the CEO Allamin Foundation, a non-governmental outfit that fights the cause of women and girls that are victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Ms Allamin also coordinate the women whose organisation also coordinates the women whose husbands and loved ones are in military detention, under a program called #KnifarMovement said “it is important for the world to note that despite the fact that the women had suffered so much and were almost forgotten by the government of their country, they did not give up on their missing husbands”.
She expressed sadness that no civil society organisation in Nigeria added its voices to the cries of the 1200 women seeking for justice.
“Where are our Nigerian brothers and sisters? Why are our Nigerian CSOs? This is a very serious challenge for us.
“These women have been yearning and crying for years.
“While we kept silent on our sisters’ problem, people from foreign lands are busy sending messages of support and adding their voice to the cause of the women. Shame on us.”
The Humanitarian Times hopes the government will hear the agony of these women and help release their spouses