Presidency Probes Army Over Alleged Human Rights' Abuses

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, has implored a Presidential Investigative Panel, to investigate activities of the armed forces, and ensure that those activities, meet up to human rights norms, observed across the world.

The acting president said the Buhari Administration was committed to addressing all cases of extra-judicial killings, s*xual offences and all other forms of abuses in Nigeria.

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. If left unaddressed, these allegations are capable of undermining the good work of the Armed Forces who have largely conducted themselves in a disciplined & professional manner.

"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".

"Failure to examine these allegations will also leave those who may have been victims of such abuses without any recourse to justice".

"And if history has taught us anything, it is that the failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis is usually a recipe for greater conflict".

Its terms of reference are to review extant rules of engagement applicable to the Armed Forces and the extent of compliance thereto; to investigate alleged acts of violation of global humanitarian and human rights law under the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended, the Geneva Conventions Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act and other relevant laws by the Armed Forces in local conflicts and insurgencies.

"To investigate alleged acts of violation of global humanitarian and human rights laws under the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended; the Geneva Convention Act; the African Charter on Human and Peoples rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act and other relevant laws by the Armed Forces in local conflicts and insurgencies".

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" Four, to make further recommendations in line with these terms of reference as may be deemed necessary".

Osinbajo expressed confidence that the Panel will also collect information about the conditions of service of the Armed Forces or any other factors that might have hindered the optimal performance of the Armed Forces in the fight against insurgents, militants and other combatants.

He, therefore, challenged the members of the panel to carry out their duties diligently.

The seven-man commission, which is chaired by Justice Biobele Georgewill, is expected to commence work immediately and submit its report within ninety days.

The Panel also has a secretary from the Office of the SGF.

This follows several allegations by foreign bodies that the Nigerian Army was going against human rights rules in its operations. This is why it is incumbent upon us even as we maintain security especially in conflict situations, to interrogate alleged crimes and human rights abuses by all sides of this conflicts and insurgencies.

The commission is headed by Justice Biobele Georgewill of the Port Harcourt division of the Court of Appeal.

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