FG, military must adhere to human rights norms, says Osinbajo

Postado Agosto 13, 2017

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande on Friday, Osinbajo said there was need to ensure that their activities complies with global human rights practices.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has formally inaugurated a presidential panel to investigate allegations of human rights' abuses against the armed forces.

The Amnesty International's 2016 reports on Nigeria allegedd that 240 people, including infants, died in military detention camps in the North East while 177 pro-Biafran agitators were allegedly extra-judicially killed in the same year.

"Nonetheless, there are series of allegations levelled against security forces by some local and worldwide commentators.... the allegations are capable of undermining the good works and efforts of the men and women of the armed forces who have largely conducted themselves in a disciplined and professional manner". It is that failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis that is usually a recipe for greater conflict.

He, therefore, assured all the security agencies that the work of the investigative panel should not be seen as a witch hunt or an act aimed at denigrating the laudable work of the military.

The acting president listed the terms of reference of the panel to include, "the review of extant rules of engagement applicable to Armed Forces of Nigeria and the extent of compliance thereto".

The panel is also mandated to investigate matters of conducts and discipline in the Armed Forces in local conflicts and insurgencies; recommend means of preventing violations of worldwide humanitarian and human rights law in conflict situations and make further recommendations in line with these terms of reference as may be deemed necessary.

Members of the panel are; Major-General Patrick Akem; Mr. Wale Fapohunda; Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim; Mr. Jibrin Ibrahim;Mr. Abba Ambudashi Ibrahim;Mrs. Ifeoma Nwakama; and Dr. Fatima Alkali who is counsel to the Panel.

"To make further recommendations in line with these terms of reference as it deemed necessary".

Osinbajo enjoined the panel to also look into the conditions of service of the armed forces or any other factors that might have hindered the performance of the military in the ongoing fight against insurgents, militants and other combatants with a view to addressing them.

"To the Panel, I implore you to carry out your duties diligently, impartially and with all sense of professionalism".

The nine-man panel, which is chaired by justice Biobele Georgewill, was inaugurated at the Aso rock villa Abuja on Friday.

This follows several allegations by foreign bodies that the Nigerian Army was going against human rights rules in its operations.

According to him, this is why it is incumbent upon the government even as they maintain security especially in conflict situations to interrogate, as they go along on a regular basis, alleged crimes and human rights abuses by all sides in these conflicts and insurgencies.

Prof. Osinbajo challenged members of the 9-man panel headed by justice Biobele Georgewill to ensure that its mandate is adhered to.