Reuters report: Military hospital denies forced abortion cases

Two top personnel of the Maimalari Military Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State, have dismissed as untrue reports that the clinic was in forced abortion procedures on rescued victims of insurgency.

The personnel — a registrar, Chika Joachim, and the Head of Nursing Services, D. Tumaka — said the hospital only handles miscarriage cases.

The development was revealed in a statement by the Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Human Rights Commission, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, following investigations into a publication by Reuters that the military was involved in grievous human rights violations.

The Reuters report alleged that the military carried out over 10,000 forced abortions during its counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.

Mohammed added a panel set up to investigate the allegation and also took turns to interrogate the mortuary technician, Corporal Micheal Babatunde; the custodian of medical records, LT. Nuhu Danjuma Koro, and the pharmacy technician, Sgt Nelson Meture, who were all serving at the military medical facility.

The statement read, “Chika Joachim Maduka, a specialist registrar attached to Maimalari Military Hospital at the headquarters of Operation Hadin Kai, 7 Division, Maiduguri, Borno State, told the special independent investigative panel on allegations of human rights violations in the counter-insurgency operations in the North-East that the hospital only manages miscarriages and not abortion of pregnancies

“The testimony of the doctor followed his examination by the secretary of the panel, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna, when he responded to the allegation of abortion of 10,000 pregnancies of women and girls in the course of counter-insurgency in the North-East, as alleged in the Reuters’ report.”

“The witness, who is also an obstetrics gynaecologist, stated that although the hospital carries out medical termination of pregnancies when the need arises, it abides by the standard practice.”

The statement further disclosed Maduka told the seven-member panel, chaired by Justice Abdu Aboki (retd), that in his three-year practice in the hospital, he never carried out any abortion of pregnancies of women and girls as alleged in Reuters’ report.

“Also in his testimony before the panel, the Chief Nursing Superintendent and Head of Nursing Services at the hospital, Lt. Colonel D. Tumaka, said that the hospital does not have any record of abortion.

“According to the chief nurse, every medication administered to patients is prescribed by Doctors, and they are documented in nurses’ drug charts as a routine practice,” the statement added.


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