A Lagos based human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), on Thursday described the 55th anniversary of Nigeria;s independence as an unhappy birthday for hundreds of victims of Boko Haram who, according to the group, continue to suffer the consequences of the conflict in the North-Eastern part of the country.
The group, in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni argued that, “Independence Day should ordinarily be an anniversary to cheer and celebrate, but this is unfortunately not the case for hundreds of victims of bomb blasts and their families in Nigeria.
“The case of Hope Musa from Tabara State who recently died as a result of untreated injuries suffered from bomb blast is a sad reminder of the trauma and neglect that many victims continue to face.
“The group called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the spending of the over N80 billion (Naira) under the Victims Support Funds (VSF) to ensure transparency and accountability and adequate support, assistance, and care for families and victims of Boko Haram across the country.
“Nigerians would like to know how exactly the over N80 billion is disbursed, with details on the number of victims and their families that have so far benefited from the funds.
“It is clear the plight of victims of bomb blasts won’t end unless and until the funds are appropriately and transparently spent. If Nigeria is to celebrate its 56th Independence Anniversary in better shape than it is today, the victims of bomb blasts and other victims of Boko Haram; including the internally displaced persons, need to know that they will never be forgotten in their difficult moment.”
SERAP further added that, “In conformity with his fight against corruption [the President should] set up a framework that would identify the real victims of Boko Haram and facilitate their access to the Victims Support Funds to ensure that victims and their families can live in dignity, access appropriate medical and other care, and enjoy basic necessities of life. The Bomb Victims Association and other stakeholders should be fully consulted and involved in the disbursement of any funds.”
The human rights group further quoted the Bomb Victims Association of Nigeria as saying that “Victims are dying needlessly. These deaths are avoidable if urgent and continuous medical attention is provided. We have cases of first-degree burns, cornea opacity, compound fractures and orthopaedic cases, limb amputees, tympanic membrane and osicular bone damages on the ear, keloid skins, intensive nerve and tissue injuries and so on, which are in need of urgent medical attentions.”