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Pressure terrorists to surrender, CDS tasks human rights groups

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Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor PHOTO: Twitter


The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has appealed to the human rights community to mount on Boko Haram the equal measure of pressure it puts on government forces dealing with terrorism to compel them to drop their weapons and come to the negotiation table.

However, while human rights groups say it was not part of their mandate to engage terrorists, the human rights commission advocated intelligence-driven counter-terrorism operations.

According to Irabor, if the rights crusaders take the campaign for human rights to the terror organisations, the conflict will be resolved faster with attendant reduction in casualties.

The CDS spoke at the opening ceremony of a three-day training on ‘African Commission Guidelines on Human Rights in Counter-Terrorism Operations’ organised by the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (CSRS) of the National Defence College (NDC), in collaboration with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

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He said: “What I need to put forward to you and, of course, the rest other actors within the human rights system, is that often you find out that greater attention is given to the government forces that are dealing with terrorism, with little or very minimal attention to the adversaries, the Boko Harm and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).”

Responding, the Executive Director of OSIWA, Aisha Osori, said it was not the duty of human rights groups to mount pressure on terrorists or force them to surrender.

“We don’t recognise terrorists and they also don’t recognise us, so we can’t mount any pressure on them. That is why we are holding our armed forces to task to eliminate those who have taken up arms against the state. But in doing so, we should not degenerate to the level of the terrorists by disrespecting human rights.”

“In Nigeria, there have been reports of excessive use of force by the military in operations across the country. With the military deployed in 35 of the 36 states of the federation, the need to train the soldiers on human rights cannot be over-stated,” she said.

But the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu, advocated intelligence-driven counter-terrorism operations that would shield innocent citizens from the carnage of war.

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