The Nigerian Army says it has embarked on the construction of a holding facility in Borno to improve detainee management of insurgents during investigations.
Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, said this in a statement on Friday in Maiduguri.
Chukwu said that the project had become imperative to enhance the management of detained insurgents, in accordance with international best practices.
The statement said that Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, was represented at the foundation-laying ceremony of the project by Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh, the Chief of Logistics, Army Headquarters.
Buratai said that the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East had necessitated the arrest and detention of suspected insurgents, who must be properly catered for in accordance with international best practices.
“The quest for a functional safe holding facility, with adequate sanitary conditions for effective management of suspected insurgents for further investigation, is the driving force behind the execution of the project.
“To relieve the frontline units of the responsibility of administering arrested suspects, there is the need to have a facility where suspects will be kept and properly managed.
“This is the reason why the Joint Investigation Centre was established,’’ he added.
Buratai said that the facility would also serve as transit holding and detention centre for suspected insurgents before handing them over to the relevant prosecution or rehabilitation agencies.
Mr Markus Dolder, Head of Sub-Delegation of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), lauded the project, describing it as “indication of compliance by the Nigerian Army with global best practices”.
Dolder said that the project would strengthen the cooperation between the Army and other stakeholders in the management of suspects under investigation.
“I am very much impressed about the efforts that have been launched over the last few months; they are more than what we actually thought could come, and this is more than what we could potentially dream of,’’ he said.
He called on the Nigerian Army to keep its own part of the bargain by striving to meet global best practices in ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of detainees.
The event was attended by Maj.-Gen. Abba Dikko, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig.-Gen. Abdulmalik Biu, the Acting General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, and Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Salihu, the Commander, Joint Investigation Centre.
Others at the event include Mr Inuwa Garba, the Comptroller, Nigeria Prison Service, Borno Command, and Mr Amro Ibrahim, ICRC’s Deputy Head of Sub Delegation in Borno, as well as representatives of the police.