NHRC to release reports on elections, Army Shiite clash

Ebele Okoye, Abuja

Following the conclusion of investigations into high profile cases, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, will in the coming weeks, release the results of its inquiries.

The cases include the clash in Zaria, Kaduna, between the Nigerian Army and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria or Shiites; alleged electoral offences committed by some politicians and staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, during the 2015 general elections, as well as the alleged use of hate speech by political aspirants, prior to, and during the elections.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe announced this while inaugurating another panel of investigation into allegations of genocide and destruction of property in Tarok Community, Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State, Northern Nigeria, by officers of the Nigerian Army.

Prof. Angwe went on to explain that the reports from the different panels will be made open to the public and also forwarded to other relevant offices for disciplinary action to be taken against offenders.

In his very word: “In the next two weeks, the National Human Rights Commission will be releasing to the general public reports and interim reports into the major assignments being carried out by National Human Rights Commission, and within this period, we will also formally come up with the report of the special investigation panel for the clash between the military and the Islamic Movement in Zaria, and we will also commence the public sitting on cases of hate speeches and electoral violence during the 2015 general elections.

Let me also inform you that within the same period, we will release to the general public, a report and hand over to the office of the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the list of all persons indicted by the various electoral tribunals, for the commission of electoral offences for prosecution.

Within the same period, the commission will also hand over to the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, a list of officers of the electoral commission, who have been indicted for electoral misconduct by the electoral tribunals. At the same time, the commission will also hand over to the Inspector General of Police, the list of police officers who were also indicted by the various electoral tribunals for misconduct during the elections.”

The Executive Secretary, while inaugurating the new panel on the Tarok community crisis, charged them with the duty of finding out what really transpired between the parties, paying attention to person, groups or agencies which were involved in the alleged damage and ascertain whether or not people were injured or lost their lives in the clash.

He went on to say that the commission would always support the military in its duties, but would not turn a blind eye to cases where they had taken undue advantage of their powers to violate the rights of Nigerians.

“Let me also say in person, that the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria recognizes the role of security agencies of the military in the Federal Republic of Nigeria towards the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians.

The commission is also mindful of the overwhelming responsibility of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the government at all levels, in the protection of lives and properties as a primary obligation of government and will continue to call on Nigerians to recognize and appreciate the role currently being played by the military in the protection of the lives of Nigerians, the commission will in the same manner, not shy away from carrying out its responsibilities where it is alleged or where it is proven that some officers of the Nigerian military had exceeded their authority and warranted an authority beyond the scope of their mandate by excessively violating the rights of Nigerians,” he concluded.

The four man panel for the Tarok Plateau hearing, is made up of high ranking officers of the National Human Rights Commission.

The agency has also secured the premises of the Federal High Court, Jos, Plateau State Capital for the purpose of carrying out that investigative hearing.