Due to the high rate of alleged sexual abuses recorded in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps by camp officials, the Borno Police Command has deployed 100 female police officers to ensure the protection of women.
Speaking on Sunday, the state police commissioner, Damian Chukwu, said that they were taking steps to ensure the protection of IDPs by deploying the officers, who were drawn from various divisions, to “dig out true happenings” in the camps.
Some male police officers were also deployed to the camps, but they would be limited to handling of the territorial coverage and patrol within the camps, while the mobile police women will handle the day-to-day interaction in the camps.
Mr Chukwu said he had also constituted a high powered committee who are mostly females, to oversee the running of the camps, led by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), with Divisional Police Officers (DPO) and other senior officers, to take over the daily running of the camps.
According to the state commissioner of Police, the objective was to further secure the camps and give confidence to the thousands of women in the IDP camps.
He said the command feels that the victims might not want to talk freely to men, but they will be encouraged to open up to women policemen if the allegation is true.
Last week, a Human Rights Watch report alleged that several women had been sexually abused by security officers. The report blamed the vulnerability of women – many of whom are widows and unaccompanied orphans – on irregular supplies of food, clothing, medicine and other essentials in internally displaced camps in the state.
President Muhammadu Buhari said he was “worried” and “shocked” about the HRW report which said that women and girls had been coerced into sex and abandoned when they became pregnant. The President therefore ordered an investigation into the alleged abuses.
Mr Chukwu however claims that the news was strange to him because, before the alarm raised by the international Human Rights organization, the police had not received any complaint on the alleged abuse.