NHRC Appoints Special Independent Investigative Panel on Counter Insurgency in North-east

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) plans to inaugurate a Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in the Implementation of Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East (SIIP-North East).

According to a statement yesterday, by the spokesperson of the commission, Fatimah Mohammed, the inauguration would take place next week Tuesday (7th February 2023) at the NHRC Headquarters.

Members of the panel are Honourable Justice Abdu Aboki, retired Justice of the Supreme Court ( Chairman); Ms. Kemi Okonyedo, representing Women Rights Organisation; Azubuike Nwankenta, representing NBA; Major General Letam Wiwa rtd (Military Law and Intelligence Expert); Dr. Maisaratu Bakari (Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola), Dr. Fatima Akilu (Humanitarian Expert, representing Civil Society), and Ms. Halima Nuradeen (Psychologist, representing Youths).

She said the Executive Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, while making the disclosure stated that the panel would among other things focus on investigating Reuters report which had alleged that Nigerian Military was involved in abortion of many pregnancies in the north-east in the last 10 years.

She noted that besides, the international media organisation had alleged that the Military was involved in massacre of children as well as other Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV) in the North East.

However, the Military had refuted the allegations, saying it was a ploy to malign the image of the Nigerian Armed Forces which has been at the forefront of the counter insurgency efforts in the North East.

The Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, had  during his visit to the Commission in December 2022, told the Executive Secretary that the Military was willing and ready for any probe, particularly as it related to Reuter’s report.

Meanwhile, ahead of the February 2023 election, the NHRC said it would be organising a town hall for gubernatorial candidates in 18 states of the federation beginning from  February 1st to 3rd, 2023.

A statement from NHRC that was signed by Fatimah Mohammed, stated that the Commission would be organising the town hall in collaboration with civil society organisations, United Nations System in Nigeria and the media.

It noted that this the initiative was, “targeted at making human rights issues part of the election discussion, improving citizens’ participation in the general elections, deepening our democracy and the overall safety of citizens before, during after the elections.”

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu, while making the disclosure in Abuja stated that the town hall would provide an opportunity for governorship candidates of all the political parties in the country to highlight their plans and views on key issues of  promotion and protection of human rights of citizens in their respective states.

The town hall is scheduled to take place in the following states: Akwa Ibom, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Niger, Delta, Rivers, Nassarawa, Plateau, Adamawa, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kaduna, Cross River, Kano, Kwara and Bauchi.

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