Acting President Osinbajo Inaugurates Investigation Panel


Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said that it is the responsibility of the Nigerian military and those in government "to ensure that we interrogate our own activities and ensure that those activities meet up to human rights norms and basic rules of decency observed across the world".

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday in Abuja inaugurated eight-man Presidential Investigation Panel to review compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights' obligations and rules of engagement.

According to him, "for our government we add that respect for the lives of Nigerian citizens is not just a constitutional but also moral duty".

"Today's occasion is a continuation of the efforts of this administration geared towards attaining its goal".

Amnesty global had accused the military of human rights abuse, excessive force and extra judicial killings of terrorists in the east as well as members of indigenous people of Biafra in the South east.

Although the report was summited in June 2017, it is yet to be made public.

More recently in October 2016, Osinbajo noted that the President ordered the Inspector-General of Police to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in IDP camps in the Northeast.

The Acting President also praised the Nigerian military saying "it is also a well - known fact that the conduct of the country's defence and security forces during insurgency in the North East and militancy in the Niger Delta has in recent times attracted significant commendations". Virtually all of the territory has now been recovered by security forces.

Osinbajo however believes such reports, do not diminish the selfless contributions of fearless men and women who have fought valiantly to keep the country safe.

Indeed, conventional human rights norms and conventional human rights observers are challenged by various nuances of asymmetric warfare.

"Nonetheless, there have been a series of allegations levied against security forces by some local and global commentators".

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Nonetheless, there are series of allegations levelled against security forces by some local and global commentators capable of undermining the good works and efforts of the men and women of the armed forces, who have largely conducted themselves in a disciplined and professional manner, î†he stated.

"Failure to examine some of these allegations will also leave those who may have been victims of such abuses without any recourse to justice".

"And if history has taught us anything, it is that the failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis is usually a recipe for greater conflict".

He, therefore, assured all the security agencies that the work of the investigative panel should not be seen as a witch hunt or an act aimed at denigrating the laudable work of the military.

"To investigate alleged acts of violation of worldwide humanitarian and human rights laws under the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended; the Geneva Convention Act; the African Charter on Human and Peoples rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act and other relevant laws by the Armed Forces in local conflicts and insurgencies".

" Three, to investigate matters of conducts and discipline in the Armed Forces in local conflicts and insurgencies; to recommend means of preventing violations of global humanitarian and human rights law in conflict situations".

The seven-man commission, which is chaired by Justice Biobele Georgewill, is expected to commence work immediately and submit its report within ninety days.

Members of the panel include Patrick Akem a retired major-general, Chief of Logistics, and commander of the United Nations forces in Somalia; Olawale Fapohunda, a former Attorney-General of Ekiti State; and Jibrin Ibrahim, a professor, civil society leader and noted academic.

Osinbajo enjoined the panel to also look into the conditions of service of the armed forces or any other factors that might have hindered the performance of the military in the ongoing fight against insurgents, militants and other combatants with a view to addressing them.

He called on all persons and or institutions affected or interested in one way or the other in any of the elaborate terms of reference given to the panel to seize the opportunity to present their grievances or cases or allegations and or defences, to enable the panel carry out very thorough review and investigations, in line with its mandate. The work you are about to embark on is extremely sensitive and may involve some travel to post-conflict zones.