Human Rights: Judicial Panel Not A Witch-Hunt Against Military - Osinbajo

Barsaba Taglieri
Agosto 13, 2017

The panel inaugurated on Friday was set-up to "review compliance of Nigerian Military with Human Rights obligations", according to the Presidency.

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 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.

"There have been a series of allegations levied against security forces by local & worldwide commentators".

The acting president said all the allegations being levelled against the armed forces and other security agencies must not go unaddressed so as to safeguard the good image of Nigeria. It is that failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis that is usually a recipe for greater conflict.

Professor Osinbajo noted that the panel which is in response to continuous allegations of war crimes committed by the military will work within the ambit of the law to review the extant rules of engagement and the extent of compliance to it.

Other members of the judicial commission set-up by the Acting President last week include Patrick Akem, a major general, Wale Fapohunda, Hauwa Ibrahim, Jibrin Ibrahim, Ifeoma Nwakama, and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

"To investigate alleged act of violation of worldwide humanitarian and human rights law under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended; the Geneva Convention Act, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act and other relevant laws by the Armed Forces in local conflict and insurgencies".

"To make further recommendations in line with these terms of reference as maybe 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. "It is in the light of this I have mandated the panel".

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

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

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