By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
An advocacy group, Concerned Professionals Congress (CPC) has faulted the report by Human Rights Watch over alleged human rights abuse by the Nigerian military in their fight against insurgency.
The group at a press conference in Bauchi yesterday jointly addressed by its Chief Media Strategist, Emeka Nwakpa and Regional Rapporteur, Kassim Baba Alkassim said that the recent report about sexual abuse in IDPs camps by the US based NGO was faulty.
It stated that the report which alleged that some government and security officials were sexually exploiting women at the camps has dehumanised the collective psyche of the people who have sacrificed so much in the fight against insurgency and to bring peace.
“As an advocacy platform committed to the cause of peace, unity and stability in the country, we shall continue to be in the vanguard of mobilising and galvanising necessary public support, solidarity, cooperation and understanding for our gallant troops and their able commanders until we finally see the end of terror in our land”, it stated.
The group however commended president Buhari for his prompt response ordering for an investigation and the deployment of police to the IDPs camps to commence investigation which it said was aimed at bringing the culprits to justice.
“But let us quickly affirm that such accused personnel, if found to have committed such alleged offences, do not reflect or represent who we are as a decent people. They should be made to face the full wrath of the law for betraying humanity and the ethics of their jobs. There should be no cover-ups because cover-ups don’t cover all”, it added.
They expressed concern about the integrity of Nigeria’s military which it said had at various time gone out of the country to participate in international peacekeeping missions and gain accolades without blemish.
“While there may be some bad eggs that engage in acts portrayed by the HRW, we should also be careful not to make blanket accusations against our troops so as not to dampen or kill their morale. Efforts should be made by the authorities to get to the root of this matter”, it added.
The group commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the release of the 21 Chibok Girls and another one with her 10 months old child.
“We salute the doggedness, resilience and commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and his team of mediators from the highly respected International NGO, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for this great feat”, it added.
It also lamented the death of Lt. Col. Muhammad Abu Ali and other troops of the 119 Battalion who were killed by Boko Haram in an ambush on November 4, 2016.
“This young officer who was the commanding Officer, 272 Task Force Battalion was renowned as the face of the anti-terror war and has been described by military authorities as one of the bravest officers since the start of the anti-terrorism war.
“Since the news of the sad incident broke, torrents of tributes have continued to pour. He it was, who led our troops to recapture Baga town from the terrorists in what officers reckoned as the fiercest battle with Boko Haram since 2009, a feat which earned him instant promotion and the Chief Of Army Staff Award for Exceptional Bravery and Excellence”, it added.