Group Faults Panel Probing Rights Violation in Armed Forces

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By Gboyega Akinsanmi

A human rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Monday faulted the constitution of a seven-man presidential investigative panel to review the compliance of the Armed Forces with human rights obligation and rules of engagement.

HURIWA therefore asked Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to disband the panel of judicial investigators into allegations of human rights violations by the military, noting that some of the panel “are largely allies and loyalists of top hierarchy of the Nigeria Armed Forces”.

Osinbajo had inaugurated the presidential investigative panel to review compliance of the Armed Forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, especially in local conflicts and insurgency situations.
The panel comprised Justice Biobele Georgewill, Maj.-Gen. Patrick Akem, Wale Fapohunda, Hauwa Ibrahim, Jibrin Ibrahim, Ifeoma Nwakama and a representative from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The commission was mandated to submit its report on the allegations within 90 days and empowered “to investigate alleged acts of violation of international humanitarian and human rights law under the 1999 Constitution, Geneva Conventions Act, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ratification and enforcement) Act and other relevant laws by Nigerian security agencies”.

But in a statement by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group said it was logically impossible for some of the members known “to belong to institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission and who were part of a previous in-house Army’s investigative panel to come up with an entirely independent findings different from the military’s friendly report it tendered few days back”.

Details later…