The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned the Amnesty International report that accused Nigerian Army of human rights abuses and violations in North East of Nigeria saying the report is not supported with facts that reflects the situation in the area.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, Oti Ovrawah made this condemnation during a project launch called, “Promoting Human Rights Accountability in the North East”.
The event was held at the Conference Hall of Desert View Hotel in Maiduguri Borno State. Ovrawah wondered why a respected international organization of high repute like Amnesty International will issue out reports without making findings from those on ground.
He called on media and international bodies to always carry out thorough investigation on a matter before releasing it to the general public.
He encouraged the Nigerian Army to continue the good job they are doing in the North East, stressing that they has always been carried out in line with international best practices.
It would be recalled that Amnesty International recently released a report accusing troops of Operation Lafiya Dole of human rights abuses and violations in the North East.
During the project launch, the NHRC scribe said the essence of the project is to mainstream human rights into Operation Lafiya Dole activities, its rules of engagement and code of conduct, to design and develop a code of conduct for Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and also mainstream human rights into their activities.
Other areas include bringing accountability to bear for all alleged human rights violations committed during the counter insurgency operation which according him can be in form of civil remedies or criminal prosecutions in collaboration with Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and relevant justice ministries at the State and Federal levels.
Continuing, Oti said the project will sensitize citizens of North East on human rights through various media and also redress mechanism for human rights violations available to them as well as institute high impact catalytic and other cases arising from human rights violations on behalf of the citizens adding that the project team will also in liaison with NBA monitor, investigate, analyze, institute and prosecute cases of human rights violations as may be necessary.
In his goodwill message, the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor assured NHRC of the support of officers and soldiers of his command and by extension the Nigerian Army in the promotion of human rights through strict adherence to relevant laws guiding the fight against insurgency.
The Commander represented by the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu thanked the organizers of the forum which he said will give stakeholders opportunity to interact on human rights related matters with a view of finding solutions to checkmate abuses.
He said Nigerian Army under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai has placed high priority on the respect of fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) which he said prompted the establishment of Department of Civil-Military Relations in Army Headquarters and Human Rights Desk in all Army formation in Nigeria.
According to him violators of human rights in Operation Lafiya Dole Theater has been made to face court marshal and punished as deterrent to others and to checkmate excesses of troops in the ongoing operation against insurgents in the region.
The Executive Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Shettima Kashim represented by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in his goodwill message pledged to support the Commission in ensuring that human rights abuses are curtailed to barest minimum.
He eulogized the Nigerian Army for their efforts and determination to end insurgency in Nigeria.
Dignitaries that graced the occasion include Commanders and Principal Staff Officers in the Theatre, heads of security and Para-military agencies, NBA and other interest groups
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