Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, yesterday, called on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate the allegations of forced abortions of the wives of repentant terrorists from the North-east. There are concerns over the development following a Reuters news agency report alleging that 10,000 abortions were carried out in the North-east by the military.
The publication had elicited reactions from the House of Representatives and the United States Government, who have called for a probe. Speaking during a working visit to the rights commission in Abuja, Irabor said the military viewed the allegations as a calculated attempt to weaken the military establishment.
He said he made the call for an independent investigation since the military could not investigate itself in such a matter. Irabor said the military was prepared to accept the outcome of the investigation. “In recent times, there were reports of military involvement in forced abortions in the North-east. When we looked at it, we said this is not us. It doesn’t depict the DNA of our operations. “We felt that there are extra-territorial powers, who are keen to weaken the armed forces, so we felt that the National Human Rights Commission is the right agency to carry out such investigation.
“And if that is what you want to do, we will grant you unfettered access to not just the North-east but across the country. Our doors are open. If you desire to invite any of our officers they will be available, we will oblige. “We have said before now that the report is evil. The North-east operation is a government project championed by the armed forces. “We have codified our various operational rules and we subscribe to various international humanitarian laws,” he said.
Responding to a question on whether he would accept the outcome of the investigation, he said, “if I would not accept, I will not be here. I was asked if I will investigate and I said I can’t investigate myself, another body should do that and that is why I am here.” In his response, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, said the commission had agreed to conduct the investigation. “The commission welcomes the request by the military to investigate the allegations in the report because of the human rights implications.
“The investigation will be carried out expeditiously. It will meet the international standards which includes being made public, ensuring fair hearing. An open investigation would be carried out expeditiously,” he said.