The Center for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, CESJET, has described report of the panel of inquiry set up by the Nigerian Army to investigate alleged human rights violations by army personnel in the counter-terrorism war in Nigeria as impartial, neutral and most professional.
Recall that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had announced that officers of the Nigerian Army who are found guilty of Human Rights abuses, especially in connection with arrested Boko Haram terrorists and members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will not go unpunished.
The report was submitted to the Chief of Army Staff on May 18, 2017 and due for gazette by the Army Council for posterity.
Speaking on the development, CESJET Executive Director, Joyce Ogwu, said the centre was pleased with release of the anticipated report of the Nigerian Army Board of Inquiry (BOI) inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), describing it ?most neutral and professionally done.?
Ogwu, who addressed newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, commended the six-member panel chaired by Major General A.T.Jibril for expeditiously investigating and prodding deep into the alleged human rights violations by some army personnel.
She said, CESJET was, “equally pleased that despite the frightening and highly scandalous figures of claims of extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram suspects in Army detention facilities in Borno state and some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), the panel diligently conducted a detailed, faultless and splendid inquiry by meeting all the different stakeholders covered by the alleged human rights abuses and found the claims by AI very spurious and patently false.
“The published report of the Army BOI embodied a thorough, impartial and neutral inquest into the allegations gleaned from the tissue of evidences and testimonies by victims and non-victims alike.
“The exoneration of the Amy personnel of culpability or complexity in its anti-terrorism campaigns is indication of Nigerian Army?s unflinching commitment and adherence to the highest ethical standards of professionalism and discipline in the execution of its assignments.
“This is a fact abundantly buttressed by the COAS, Gen. Buratai, as signposted by the setting up of the Human Rights Desk at the Nigerian Army Headquarters (AHQs) Abuja,” he said.
According to her, by this development, ?we dare to frown, restate and reaffirm our objection at the suspiciously covert role of Amnesty International as terrorism mongers in Nigeria and the promotion of same with such false reports to the detriment of Nigerians and security forces battling to tame the monster of terrorism in Nigeria.
The recent repudiation of AI’s claims of human rights violations as contained in its report on army personnel tallies with the proof of emptiness of previous similar reports from the organization conducted by other independent bodies. We therefore call on the Nigerian Government, Civil Society Organizations? (CSOs) and the International community among others, to take a critical interest in the conspicuously biased and anti-Nigerian posture of Amnesty International in the country.”
The centre further appealed to the Army Council to consider reviewing the subsisting sanctions and punishments on Army Personnel, in the event a prima facie case of human rights abuses has been established against any officer.
She said the measure became imperative in view of the contemporary reality of terrorism and the delicate nature of the prosecution of anti-terrorism war by troops, which often involve the risk of life and death of victims they are constrained to rescue, vis-a-vis safeguarding their own lives.
“British Prime Minister, Theresa May has provided insight into the delicateness of the terrorism combat war and the human rights protection laws that appear to embolden terrorists and already thinking of tinkering with UK human rights laws that provide shield for terrorists. It is our thinking that military personnel engaged in terrorism combat wars should also be entitled to some measure of relief on the strictness of the application of human rights abuses laws”, she added.