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Nigeria Candidate Vows Abortion Probe

Nigeria opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar. Taken November 2, 2022
Nigeria opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar. Taken November 2, 2022

Nigerian opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar's administration will investigate a Reuters report of forced abortions "with a view to stopping it" if he wins next year's election, his spokesman Charles Aniegwu said on Thursday.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Nigerian Army has run a secret, systematic and illegal abortion program in the country's northeast since at least 2013.

The program has involved terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls, many of whom had been kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants, according to dozens of witness accounts and documentation reviewed by Reuters.

The report was based on witnesses from 33 women and girls, five health workers and nine security personnel involved in the alleged program and on military documents and hospital records "describing or tallying thousands of abortion procedures."

Most of the abortions, Reuters said, were carried out without the woman's consent and some were conducted without their prior knowledge through abortion-inducing pills or injections passed off as medications to boost health or combat disease.

In its reaction, the Nigerian army lashed the report as "a body of insults on the Nigerian peoples and culture."

"Nigerian military personnel have been raised, bred and further trained to protect lives," it said.

"(The) Nigerian military will not, therefore, contemplate such evil of running a systematic and illegal abortion program anywhere and anytime, and surely not on our own soil."

This report was produced using data from Reuters and Agence Frnce-Presse.