Boko Haram detention facility in Lagos? •As Jonathan seeks Germany’s help to fight se
Haram detention facility in Lagos? •As Jonathan seeks Germany’s help to fight sect
THE Nigerian intelligence community, on Thursday, reacted angrily to a report by a foreign news agency that security forces have opened a secret detention facility for Boko Haram suspects in Lagos.
The news agency had reported that Nigeria is opening a secret detention centre to hold and interrogate suspected high-level members of a radical Islamist sect responsible for hundreds of killings this year alone.
Anonymously quoting a security official who is allegedly directly involved in the project, the report noted that the prison was in Lagos, far from the violence plaguing the country’s predominantly Muslim North, where Boko Haram carries out frequent bombings and ambushes.
“All suspects arrested will be taken to the centre and would be interrogated by a security group,” the official was quoted as saying, even as he declined to say exactly where it was or how many inmates it could hold.
The official was said to have narrated that authorities were arranging to transport suspects to Lagos, adding that the detention centre was created on the orders of the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Owoye Azazi.
The report, however, quoted the State Security Service (SSS) as denying the existence of a secret detention prison, though it noted that its Director-General, Ekpeyong Ita, declined to comment on Thursday when the AP asked him about it.
“Minutes later, SSS spokeswoman, Marilyn Ogar, called an AP journalist and said anyone with information about the purported prison should go to the courts, instead of talking to journalists. She refused to confirm or deny the prison's existence,” the report noted.
“Whatever we do, we’re running a democratic system that respects the rule of law,” the spokeswoman was quoted as saying.
The agency quoted the security source as saying that “the problem we have is lack of synergy among the security agencies such as the police, military and intelligence agencies like the SSS.”
Amnesty International was also quoted as condemning the practice, accusing the government of arresting and locking up suspects for months without being charged.
The human rights group was also reported to have alleged incarceration of women and children related to suspected Boko Haram members, in attempts to draw them out, alleging also that some Boko Haram suspects had been “subject to enforced disappearances.”
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the German government to assist Nigeria with technology and develop the country's security architecture, to successfully tackle the Boko Haram menace.
He made the appeal on Thursday, during a media briefing with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin, Germany.
The question of the Islamic insurgents in parts of the country featured prominently on the agenda during the bilateral talks between both leaders at the German Chancery in the country's capital.
According to Jonathan, “from publications on this terrorist group, it paints a very gloomy picture as if the whole country is in tatters.”
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