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Secondly, these types of demolitions have curiously, and in a baseless manner, justified attacks on women, children and the youth across the volatile states. Nearly all reported incidents of anti-insurgency-based house demolitions are accompanied by the unlawful arrests and detention of these categories of people, gravitating towards a veiled policy of substituting fleeing crime suspects with their wives and members of their family. “Arresting relatives of fleeing suspects is totally wrong, and constitutes a breach of fundamental human rights of the arrested persons”, says Monday Agbonika, a senior officer of the Nigerian Police Force. This practice rests on the assumption that such arrests would provoke the suspect to come out of hiding. Mindful of the illegality of transferring guilt to another person, police officers and security operatives often attempt to establish complicity or accuse the arrested persons of conspiracy in the alleged crime5. Thirdly, there is no evidence showing that house demolitions effectively deter terrorist groups. Instead, evidence shows that the counter-terror demolitions increase local population’s support for terrorist groups, while fuelling hatred and animosity towards security forces. SPACES FOR CHANGE’s regular feedback from, and interactions with residents of Maiduguri communities (Budum, Kaleri and Gomari) that have been the locale of fiery security invasions reveal that the greater the force employed by the JTF in the areas designated as military targets, the greater the sympathy affected communities have for the Boko Haram sect, to the extent that majority of locals are hesitant, or unwilling, to provide information to security operatives about the hideouts and activities of the sect members. Consequently, absolute mistrust, suspicion, and fear characterize the relationship between the security operatives and the civilian populations in the volatile states, undermining intelligence undertakings that would lead to the definite identification and extirpation of the sect’s members and activities. Fourthly, the absence of initiatives and mechanisms for weighing the human rights effects of security measures in terms of proportionality and necessity is also compounding the crisis. Because the intensity of the bloodshed and killings have succeeded in scaring away the media, the civil society and other independent watchdog interventions from reaching conflict areas, the highhandedness and human rights violations associated with both the heavy militarization of these states remain largely undocumented, unreported and unchallenged. Not only that, security forces are usually unwilling to release often classified information and micro-level data on terror attacks and counterterrorism operations as would enable an independent evaluation of the deterrence effects. As a result, evaluating the effectiveness of house demolitions in particular, and counterterrorism in general, has been severely hindered. Fifthly, both the terror campaigns and counter-terrorism actions have provided justification for the criminalization of the youth populations living in the slums of the volatile communities and states, while encouraging the continued exclusion of the youth in local governance and public-decision-making. Not only have the youths comprised the highest number of both military and civilian fatalities, the attendant crippling of social and economic activities have drastically limited their access to education, and totally destroyed their sources of livelihood. Clearly more and more, discussions are gradually moving away from addressing the root causes of the crises, including the trigger factors that draw the youth into criminal and extremist activities, but rather, political emphasis has been placed on lesser important matters that play no roles in facilitating peacebuilding and conflict resolution as manifested by the latest calls for increased revenue allocation to northern states. At present, North East Nigeria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a youth, especially a male teen. From Borno, to Kano, Jos, and Bauchi, young people have been disproportionately targeted with violence. Slum 5

Interview with Monday Agbonika: Divisional Police Officer of Adeniji Adele Police Station, Lagos Island, Lagos. May 29, 2012

DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE

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DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE  

This report critically examines the effectiveness and human rights implications of using house demolitions to deter terrorism in Northern N...

DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE  

This report critically examines the effectiveness and human rights implications of using house demolitions to deter terrorism in Northern N...

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