Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has urged police and other security agencies to secure the release of seven children abducted by suspected hoodlums at Enyigba community, Ebonyi State.
The children were abducted from their respective homes at Enyigba community in Abakaliki Local Government Area by unknown persons, following a renewed conflict over land dispute with Enyibichiri community in Ikwo Local Government Area.
A statement signed by Jeremiah Oyibe, the state secretary of CDHR, on Tuesday in Abakaliki, urged the police to ensure safe and unconditional release of the seven abductees.
The CDHR added that the police and the state government should ensure the arrest and trial of those involved in the criminal abduction of the innocent children.
The group expressed displeasure that children had become targets of attack in armed conflicts and extreme violence.
It said that abduction of children in armed conflicts for whatever reason was not only condemnable and disturbing but heartbreaking.
“Ensuring accountability for such crimes along with crimes against humanity and genocides is an essential part of upholding responsibility to protection as well as establishing a basis for sustainable peace and reconciliation.
“Not bringing perpetrators to book is tantamount to evading accountability and such impunity not only denies victims justice and reparations, it equally produces an environment conducive for continuous perpetration of such crimes,” the group said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Ebonyi State Government in conjunction with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi chapter, had waded into the boundary dispute involving the two communities and settled it.
NAN reported that a peace agreement was signed by the two communities and the boundaries clearly demarcated.
CDHR, however, expressed sadness over the recent crisis that led to the abduction of the seven children whom their mothers left at home when they went to the market to buy food stuff.
“We, therefore, wish to urge the Inspector General of Police, Nigeria Government, Ebonyi State Government to, as matter of urgency, facilitate safe return of the abducted children from Enyigba community,” the CDHR added.
NAN recalled that Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi at a recent expanded security meeting in Abakaliki promised to ensure that all the abducted children were released unhurt and reunited with their families. (NAN)