North East: Investigative Panel receives report on alleged rights violations

Salihu Ali, Abuja

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The Special Independent Investigative Panel on Allegations of Human Rights Violations in the Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East (SIIP-NE) has received a report from a specialist Registrar attached to Maimalari Military hospital at the headquarters of Operation Hadin Kai, 7 Division, Maiduguri, Dr Chika Maduka

The panel was constituted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) following allegations by a foreign media organization, Reuters against the military operation in North East.

Dr Maduka while testifying before the panel on allegations of abortion of 10,000 pregnancies of women and girls during the counter-insurgency operations in the North East as reported by Reuters, told the panel that, the hospital only manages miscarriages and not abortion of pregnancies

The witness who is also an obstetrics gynaecologist stated that although the hospital carries out medical termination of pregnancies when the need arises, it abides by the standard practice.

He further told the 7-Member panel chaired by Justice Abdu Aboki that in his three-year practice in the hospital, he never carried out any abortion of pregnancies of women and girls as alleged in Reuters’ report.

Also in his testimony before the panel, the Chief Nursing Superintendent at the hospital, Lieutenant Colonel D. Tumaka said that the hospital does not have any record of abortion.

According to the Chief Nurse, every medication administered to patients is prescribed by Doctors, and they are documented in nurses’ drug charts as a routine practice.

He explained that most of the patients they treat are wives of military personnel even as he conceded they offer some assistance to women and children rescued by the troops by way of providing them with water and food and ensuring they take their bathe before the appropriate military authorities hand them over to the state government.

He also said that they ensure that the medical professional ethics which is also similar to that of the military profession was strictly adhered to in all ramifications at all times.

The military is highly law-abiding and no military medical facility will subject itself to illicit medical practice.” 

The panel also took turns to interrogate Corporal Micheal Babatunde, the mortuary technician, LT. Nuhu Danjuma Koro, the custodian of medical records, and Sgt Nelson Meture, the pharmacy Technician, all serving at the military medical facility.

Reuters Report 

It would be recalled that Reuters had alleged on December 7, that the Nigerian army operated a secret program of coerced abortions in the country’s Northeast, where it has been battling insurgents since 2009.

On December 12, again citing dozens of witnesses, Reuters reported that the army intentionally killed children in the war, under a presumption they were, or would become, terrorists.

The Nigerian Military leaders debunked the allegation by saying the abortion program did not exist and that children were never targeted for killing.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor had formally requested the NHRC to investigate the Reuters’ claim.







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