Presidency probes army over alleged human rights’ abuses

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

The panel, headed by Justice Biobele A. Georgewill of the Court of Appeal, has as members: Major-General Patrick Akem, Mr. Wale Fapohunda, Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim, Mr. Jibrin Ibrahim – member, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwakama and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

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 international 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.

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

Speaking at the inauguration event held at the State House in Abuja on Friday, Osinbajo said the government considered the respect for Nigerians’ lives a constitutional and moral duty.

“This is why it is incumbent upon us even as we maintain security especially in conflict situations to interrogate, as we go along on a regular basis, alleged crimes and human rights abuses by all sides in these conflicts and insurgencies,” he said.

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