Some women and children Thursday marched on the streets of Maiduguri, demanding the release of their husbands, fathers and sons who were detained for being members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect.
The protesters demanded that either the suspects should be released or they should be told if they are no longer alive.
Addressing journalists at the premises of the Borno Radio Television (BRTV) where they had gone to register their protest, the protesters, numbering about 100 alleged that most of their husbands, sons and fathers had been taken away by military operatives and detained for different periods ranging from eight months to over one year without prosecution.
One of the women, Ya’hadiza Bulama Musa, an official of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, told journalists that most of their husbands and children arrested by the soldiers were innocent.
Wondering why they were still being kept in custody without anyone telling them the truth about their state of being, Ya’hadiza, who was close to tears, said two of her sons, Mustapha Tijjani Bukar and Allamin Sule Tijani, both graduates, were arrested while they were driving out of their streets at Ngomari Junction on June 6 and since then, she had not seen them.
“Our children are not Boko Haram members; they were arrested innocently and wrongly by the JTF who labelled them Boko Haram. I am a mother and should know my children better. If they are Boko Haram, I will not be here wasting my time. But I know my children, they are educated just like their fathers and I,” she said.
A 14-year-old boy who broke down in tears said, “My father is a provision seller there at Bayan Quarters area. I was with him on the day soldiers came to our shop some eight months ago (February) and began to beat us, asking us to lay down with our faces to the ground. After trampling on us, they dragged my father out and took him away. Since then I was left alone. I don’t know my mother, my father brought me up alone. Now I have no one, I cannot go to school, and no one to feed me, except I beg. Please Governor Kashim should assist me to free my father; they said he is in Giwa Barracks, and I cannot go there.”