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

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

Nigeria's Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has inaugurated the presidential panel of investigation to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement.

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.

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.

"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.", he said.

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.

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 global humanitarian and human rights law in conflict situations and make further recommendations in line with these terms of reference as may be deemed necessary.

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.

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.

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

He further noted that the sterling qualifications of members of the Panel under the capable leadership of the Honourable Justice Biobele Georgewill, Justice of the Court of Appeal, is a strong indication of the quality of work that we expect of them.

He explained that the individuals and organisations alleged cases of misconduct and human rights abuses by personnel of the army, "especially in the early days of the counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations".