A coalition of women civil society groups, WOMANIFESTO has called for an investigation of the allegation by Reuters that the Nigerian military ran a secret mass abortion program in the war against Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.
A Reuters investigation released last week reports that Nigeria’s military has conducted a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the northeast, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls since 2013.
In a pressed statement dated 10 December and signed by the convener, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, WOMANIFESTO, a coalition of 223 women civil society organisations, said It condemns “ this reproductive violence allegedly carried out by the Nigerian Military since at least 2013. These illegal, secret abortions were carried out without the women’s knowledge or consent with many held at gunpoint, drugged, or beaten into compliance. We were shocked also that several of the victims were young girls. This is unethical and condemnable.”
“Abortion is a restricted reproductive right in Nigeria, carried out to save the life of a woman. Many rescued women and girls had already experienced multiple forms of sexual and gender-based violence. Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence who are rescued deserve quality medical and psychological health care. To be given abortions forcefully after being rescued allegedly by the Nigerian Military is a human right violation”
“Forced abortion is not only reproductive violence but also a crime against humanity and breaches laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law”.
The Nigerian military denied the program ever existed and said Reuters reporting was part of a foreign effort to undermine the country’s fight against the insurgents.