President Vows To Probe AI Report On Ihiejirika, Badeh | Independent Newspapers Limited
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President Vows To Probe AI Report On Ihiejirika, Badeh

Posted: Jun 12, 2015 at 1:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

In his avowed determination to ensure that Nigerians’ human rights are no longer trampled upon, President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his resolve to probe the allegations of human rights abuses against some senior Nigerian military officers as contained in a recent Amnesty International (AI) report on the government’s war against Boko Haram terrorists.

The AI released a report containing allegations of serious human rights abuse against Nigerian senior military officers in the war against insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, with particular reference to former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and the present Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh.

Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, in a statement on Friday said: “The President is quite disturbed by the allegations contained in the report. The next step is to look into the allegations and confirm or disprove the disturbing details.”

He added that Buhari had already determined that one of the first assignments of the incoming Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) would be to look into the Amnesty International report and advise the government on an appropriate course of action.

“This is in addition to the internal inquiry he asked the armed services to undertake by themselves,” Shehu said.

He stressed that the President was committed to ensuring that there would be no human rights abuses under his government.

“Any allegation of human rights abuse that takes place during the tenure of President Buhari’s government will be swiftly investigated and dealt with,” he added.

The AI had in its report released on Wednesday, June 3, said: “In the course of security operations against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, Nigerian military forces have extra-judicially executed more than 1,200 people; they have arbitrarily arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men and boys.”

The report also claimed that Nigerian forces “have committed countless acts of torture; hundreds, if not thousands, of Nigerians have become victims of enforced disappearance; and at least 7,000 people have died in military detention as a result of starvation, extreme overcrowding and denial of medical assistance.”

It added that commanders based in the northeast “should be investigated for potential responsibility for war crimes of murder, enforced disappearances and torture.”

According to the AI, top service chiefs “should be investigated for their potential command responsibility for crimes committed by their subordinates given that they knew or should have known about the commission of the crimes, and failed to take adequate action.”

A tribunal set up by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague that investigated AI’s allegations had previously said there was no sufficient evidence linking Nigeria’s military to systematic and orchestrated atrocities targeting civilians.

But according to the last report, “Amnesty International believes that the evidence contained in this report and submitted separately to the (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor is sufficient to reopen this issue.”

In its response to the AI allegations, the Defence Headquarters “noted with dismay the gruesome allegations made by the Amnesty International against some senior military officers serving and retired of the Nigerian Armed Forces, adding; “It is unfortunate that all effort made in the allegation was geared towards continuation of blackmail against the military hierarchy in which the organisation had embarked upon as far back as the inception of military’s action against terrorist in the North East.”