Chris Steven, Abuja
A rights group, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CSJET) has commended the report of the Nigerian Army into alleged cases of human rights abuses by its personnel engaged in different operations across the country.
The group said the report has not only cleared doubts in the minds of Nigerians and the international community about the professionalism and discipline of the Nigerian Army, but has once again proven loudly, the innocence of the Nigerian Army which is understandably and conspiratorially persecuted for their sacrifices to end terrorism in Nigeria
In a statement by its Executive Director, Joyce Ogwu, CSJET described the report by the six-man Board Of Inquiry (BOI) chaired by Major General A.T.Jibril as a confirmation that the current army leadership is committed to adhering to best global standards and respect for human rights.
She described the report as “thorough” and “impartial,” saying that despite the highly scandalous figures of claims of extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram suspects in Army detention facilities in Borno state and some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), the panel diligently conducted a detailed, faultless and splendid inquiry by meeting all the different stakeholders covered by the alleged human rights abuses and found the claims by AI very spurious and patently false.
She said, “The published report of the Army BOI embodied a thorough, impartial and neutral inquest into the allegations gleaned from the tissue of evidences and testimonies by victims and non-victims alike.
“The exoneration of the Amy personnel of culpability or complexity in its anti-terrorism campaigns is indication of Nigerian Army’s unflinching commitment and adherence to the highest ethical standards of professionalism and discipline in the execution of its assignments. This is a fact abundantly buttressed by the COAS, Gen. Buratai, as signposted by the setting up of the Human Rights Desk at the Nigerian Army Headquarters (AHQs) Abuja.”
The CSJET boss reiterated the group’s objection at the role of Amnesty International in the anti terrorism war in Nigeria.
“The recent repudiation of AI’s claims of human rights violations as contained in its report on army personnel tallies with the proof of emptiness of previous similar reports from the organization conducted by other independent bodies.
“We therefore call on the Nigerian Government, Civil Society Organizations’ (CSOs) and the International community among others, to take a critical interest in the conspicuously biased and anti-Nigerian posture of Amnesty International in the country,” she said.
She appealed to the Army Council to consider reviewing the subsisting sanctions and punishments on Army Personnel, in the event a prima facie case of human rights abuses has been established against any officer.
According to her, this measure has become imperative in view of the contemporary reality of terrorism and the delicate nature of the prosecution of anti-terrorism war by troops, which often involve the risk of life and death of victims they are constrained to rescue, vis-à-vis safeguarding their own lives.