At least 262 children have been delivered by wives of former fighters of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists at Hajj Camp, a rehabilitation centre in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
Some of the repentant terrorists live in makeshift buildings within the facility with their wives and children, where usual family affairs are normal. Child birth is a frequent occurrence in the Maiduguri rehabilitation centres.
Hajj Camp is one of the four centres that were established by the state government in 2021 for rehabilitation of the terrorists that have surrendered to Nigerian troops.
The figure of new born babies in the camp alone comprises of 150 females and 112 males. A break down of the figure shows that in July this year, 94 babies were delivered at the facility, with 98 delivered in August, 60 in September and 11 in October, according to official data.
Dr Mohammed Sale who is in charge of the medical facility in the National Hajj Camp made the disclosure during an investigative tour of the facility yesterday.
Asked about records of casualties in the camp, Dr Sale said the hospital has not record any case of maternal mortality or abortion in the camp, saying such critical cases are usually referred to the state owned Umoru Shehu Specialist Hospital and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
As at November 11, 2022, the total number of people in the camp was 14,804. 5,200 of the total male population were terrorist fighters that have killed countless people across the North-East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. The number increases on regular basis.
Out of that, 3,427 live with their wives in the camp, while 1,773 are single. There are a total of 4,443 spouses in the camp alone. That is aside those in the other three camps within the state.
There are 5,170 children in the Hajj Camp, with male children numbering 2,691 and females: 2,479.
Special adviser on security to Borno State governor, Brigadier-general Abdullahi Sabi Ishaq (rtd) said over 3,500 ex-fighters have been reintegrated with their families by the government.
Borno State commissioner for women affairs and social development Zuwaira Gambo said government is providing the former insurgents with mental health and psychological support as part of combined rehabilitation efforts of the state, federal government and non-governmental organisations.
She told reporters that the government has a well-equipped department that handles the psycho social aspect. “We do this in partnership with the Neuropsychiatric centre,” she stated.
Some of the women and children in the centre were abducted and forcefully turned into women.
Gambo said government takes the victims of insurgency and their wives through mental health, psychological and psychiatric health stages to deradicalize them and provide them with various supports. “We also engage them, especially the women in skills acquisition. Sexually abused women are being attended to. We are more particular about deradicalizing the fighters and non-fighters,” she stated.
Shehu of Borno Dr Abubakar Umar Garbai lamented the unfortunate incident of 13-year-old terrorism in the state, saying it’s a ploy to take over the state by external forces. He said the problem of Boko Haram insurgency was never started by Borno people. He said founder of the Boko Haram sect, Shekau, is not from Borno. “Everybody knows where Shekau is from,” he stated.
The traditional ruler however, expressed joy that with the help of the Army and other security agencies, no single local government is under the control of the insurgents.