FG, military must adhere to human rights norms, says Osinbajo
Charges Presidential Panel To Be Diligent, Impartial
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.”
Osinbajo spoke yesterday while inaugurating a presidential investigation panel to review compliance of Armed Forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Acting President explained that the series of allegations levelled against the security agencies in the course of duty necessitated the setting up of the panel.
Indeed, conventional human rights norms and conventional human rights observers are challenged by various nuances of asymmetric warfare.
Nonetheless, there are series of allegations levelled against security forces by some local and international 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.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, yesterday said Osinbajo reiterated that the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration goes beyond the constitutional duties of protecting lives of the Nigerians citizens, but also moral duty.
He said: ìThis is why it is incumbent upon us, even as we maintain security, especially in conflict situations, to interrogate alleged crimes and human rights abuses by all sides of this conflicts and insurgencies.
Todayís occasion is a continuation of the efforts of this administration geared towards attaining its goal. You may recall that in June 2015, the President directed the military to conduct an internal inquiry into allegations of rights abuses by its personnel.
The Acting President also praised the Nigerian military, saying the conduct of the countryís defence and security forces during insurgency in the northeast and militancy in the Niger Delta has in recent times attracted significant commendations.
While charging members of the panel to discharge their duties diligently, impartially and with all sense of professionalism, he urged them to also collect information about the conditions of service of the armed forces or any other factors that might have hindered the optimal performance.
Members of the Panel are Justice Biobele Georgewill, who will serve as Chairman; Maj- Gen. Patrick Akem; Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim;†Mr. Jibrin Ibrahim;†Mr. Abba A. Ibrahim; Mrs. Ifeoma Nwakama; Dr. Fatima Alkali, who will serve as Counsel to the panel; and Mr. S. Halliru, as Secretary.
Responding on behalf of other members, Justice Georgewill assured that they would put in their best to uphold the confidence reposed on them by the government.
Top government officials at the inauguration include the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Defence, Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, (rtd); National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd); Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Hajia Habiba Lawal; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin;†and other senior government officials.