Counter-Insurgency: Government Inaugurates Panel To Probe Rights Violations
By Salihu Ali, Abuja
The Nigerian government has inaugurated a special independent investigative panel to probe alleged cases of human rights violations in counter-insurgency operations in the North East.
The National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria inaugurated the eight-man panel headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice, Abdu Aboki in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Inaugurating the panel, the Executive Secretary of the commission and a senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr Anthony Ojukwu charged members of the panel to investigate allegations of gross violations of national and international human rights laws alleged to have been committed by the Nigerian Armed Forces during the counter-insurgency operations in the North East of the country.
Ojukwu also tasked the panel to receive a memorandum from individuals and organizations with an interest in the subject matter as well as security and humanitarian organizations working in the Northeast.
The human rights boss told the panel to determine the damages or compensation payable for any violation of human rights where it deems this necessary in the circumstances of the case.
Ojukwu while quoting section 5(j) of the commission act 2010, tasked the panel, to “make appropriate determinations as to the culpability of individuals or institutions as may be deemed necessary in each circumstance.
“Refer any matter of human rights violations requiring prosecution to the Attorney General of the Federation or of a State, as the case may be. (Section 5(p) of the NHRC Act, 2010)”
Fairness and equity
The Chairman of the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations on Counter-Insurgency Operations in North-East Nigeria (SIIP North East), retired supreme court Justice Abdu Aboki JSC said the committee will be resolute to investigate all allegations of human rights abuses during the counter-insurgency operations.
He promised that the panel will be fair to all persons who appeared before it either as victims, witnesses, respondents or counsel.
Justice Aboki emphasized that the panel will abide by the rules of natural justice in every aspect.
The Retired Supreme Court Justice Abdu Aboki said, “the panel will strive to do justice devoid of any technicality.”
The Members of the Special Independent Investigative panel on rights violations in counter-insurgency operations were drawn from major professional bodies in Nigeria.
In December 2022, an International media outfit, Reuters published a report alleging violations of human rights by the military in operations in the North East.
The Nigerian Armed Forces had also approached the National Human Rights Commission urging it to launch an investigation into the allegations.