Fathered by Terrorist, Nurtured by Military: Inside Story of 7-Month-Old Maiduguri Baby
By Abdulsalam Mahmud, PRNigeria
He sat calmly on his mother’s lap, fiddling with three of his tiny fingers. One can say that he is as fit as fiddle, judging from his tender skin, and very healthy look.
Known as Moammadu, the seven-month-old is unaware of the ‘enclosed’ world his mother is living in, as a civilian turned inmate.
Aisha Ibrahim, mother of the little Moammadu, may not have shown any visible sign of worry, but she definitely would have gotten tired of her ‘new-found’ home.
She is one of the females detained at the Giwa Barracks in Old GRA, Borno State. The females, who have spent various years and months at the detention facility in the barracks, are wives of suspected and arrested Boko Haram terrorists.
Muhammadu, Aisha’s Only World
Aisha gave birth to Moammadu in May this year, exactly seven months ago. But it was not at the detention facility she conceived the tot. Moammadu’s pregnancy was about six-month-old when his mother was captured, and brought to the Joint Investigation Centre, JIC, at the Giwa barracks.
She however told PRNigeria reporter who recently visited the military incarceration home, that neither her nor her husband is a terrorist. Aisha denied having a link to Boko Haram or the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, extremist groups. She claimed that she was framed up, labeled as a spouse of a terrorist.
The 31-year-old noted that she was scared about her pregnancy and the fate of her unborn baby when she joined the women already in the military centre, late last year.
“But to my surprise, the military officers who are guarding us took care of me and another woman who was also pregnant, at that time.
“They took very good care of us, and offered us the very best of the ante-natal treatment we deserve as expectant mothers, then.
“They gave us routine drugs and consistently monitored our situations, prior to our delivery. They were also there for us when we were ready to put to bed.
“It was the females among the soldiers here (at the JIC detention centre) that handled our childbirth, together with some private healthcare officials at the clinic in this barracks.
“They took us to the 7 Division Medical Hospital, where we both delivered our babies successfully, at different periods. But the other person who gave birth in this place (the detention facility) has been freed.
“I am the only one remaining here now, together with my little boy. But there are some other women with their little grown-up children, who are being detained too,” she told PRNigeria, in a frail voice.
Aisha, 31, disclosed that the military personnel attending to them and their children are ‘very soft and tender’.
When Aisha Gave Birth
She said that when they gave birth, the military authorities of the JIC in Giwa barracks provided them with clothes, soaps, and other basic needs of a nursing mother.
“With them, everyone of us here now feels a sense of belonging. They always assist us and buy us good, good things. We don’t have any problem feeding,” she said.
Aisha, however prayed that the military authorities will soon free, and allow them return to their ancestral communities.
Aisha’s little son, Moammadu, may be unlucky to have been fathered by an ‘unknown terrorist’, but he is being nurtured adequately and well-taken care of by the Nigerian military, and the personnel at the Giwa barracks and those deployed from the 7 Division in Maimalari Cantonment, to regularly attend to their medical needs.
Military Officials Delivering Pregnant B/Haram Women
Corroborating what little Moammadu’s mother initially asserted, Yanna Madu Kawu, another female who has been held at the barrack since 2017 with her husband (a repentant terrorist) said the staff at their detention home always provide necessary support and care for the pregnant wives of arrested terrorists.
Since her arrival five years ago, Kawu, who hails from Konduga Local Government Area of the State, told PRNigeria that the military health officials at the barracks have assisted three pregnant women brought to their centre, to deliver successfully.
The 20-year-old, who already has a daughter, said: “They don’t show stigma to wives and daughters of the terrorists arrested and brought here. They even support the pregnant ones among us, not showing concern about the fact that some fathers of the unborn children are Boko Haram fighters.
“Immediately any pregnant woman affiliated to Boko Haram is arrested and brought here, they will enrol her for ante-natal. To the best of my knowledge, they have never advised any expectant woman to terminate her pregnancy, regardless of how their pregnancy was gotten”.
Inmates Get Vocational Skills’ Training
At the Giwa military barracks where little Moammadu’s mother and Yanna Madu Kawu are kept with other women, is where Hauwa Gambo, who appears to be over 50-year-old, is also an inmate.
Gambo is a wife to a terrorist called Abbana, who escaped when troops raided Komdi village, where she lives with her husband. Speaking to PRNigeria on how children and their mothers are being treated by military authorities at the Centre, she noted all adult inmates at the barrack are benefitting from several vocational skill trainings, which the Theatre Commander Operation Hadin Kai, has been organizing for them.
Her words: “They love our children, and do not even want to hear them cry at all. Lest they will just appear from nowhere and ask to know what someone did to them”.
‘Military Don’t Support Pregnancy Termination’
In separate chats with PRNigeria, the Commander 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital, Lt. Col. Adeniyi Ogunsakin, and Sergeant Caesar Ojoko, Representative of 7 Division Medical Hospital at the Giwa barracks health clinic for inmates, said as military health workers, they are always concerned about the condition of terrorists’ wives and their daughters arrested by troops, with pregnancies.
“Hence, our major concern is not how to help them or coax them to terminate their pregnancies. We don’t do that. It is not a global best practice. As such, there is no way the military will support such an act to be carried out by medical officers in any of its health facilities.
“Thank God we have never witnessed a situation where someone will approach us for that, even as we have never compelled anyone to perform it in our medical facilities, or otherwise,” they said.
INGOs Fail to Respond
Realizing that over 260 International Non-Governmental Organisations, INGOs, presently work in Maiduguri, PRNigeria made efforts to find out how they (the INGOs) are collaborating with the military towards addressing the plight of pregnant women and children of insurgents.
But did not get any reply from either the World Health Organisation, WHO; the United Nations, UN, and the International Community of the Red Cross, ICRC, which our reporter contacted.
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