Nigerian Army Decries Amnesty International Dictatorship

These are not the best of times for the having been under pressure from fighting Boko Haram insurgency in the country; and more recently, having to deal with the scrutiny from global human rights watchdog- over cases of human rights abuses against civilians in the war against insurgency.

Concerned that reckless and baseless allegations can dampen the spirit and morale of troops, the Nigerian Army has decries dictatorial tendencies of global human rights watchdog- Amnesty International. Speaking at a Press Conference in Abuja, , pointed out that “While it took Amnesty International from 2011 – 2015 to chronicle their allegations, they want the Nigerian Military to investigate and report immediately.”

While insisting that much of Amnesty’s allegations contained in the June 3, 2015 allegations were a repetition of earlier allegations with only figures of casualty arbitrarily fixed, Abubakar said preliminary investigation reports of panels set up to look into the body’s allegations have resulted in the release of some under aged detainees, women and children from some military holding facilities. “Sequel to the report of the investigation panel, 42 detainees were handed over to Borno government on Thursday 6th November 2014 and another set of 124 persons were also handed over to the state Government on 8th November 2014 respectively.”

Upon release from detention, the individuals were each given the sum of N100,000.00 to begin their lives again by the military while the living condition of the detainees was improved upon with the decongestion of holding facilities.

He also recalled that following written request from Amnesty International to the military to comment on the allegations, the military promptly commenced investigations and consequently, several investigations on these allegations are ongoing.

“Some investigations have turned in their preliminary reports, which have been acted upon. Some of the investigations could not be concluded due to the inaccessibility of the terrain due to the activities of Boko Haram terrorists.

“Similarly the Defence Headquarters set up 2 Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) to investigate, screen and categorize suspected insurgents in detention. Out of the 504 suspects screened prima facie cases was established against 350 suspects and were recommended for trial the Federal High Court, their case files were forwarded to the office of the attorney- general and ministry of justice. “Additionally, Code of Conduct for troops in the North East and other Internal Operations and Rules of Engagement clearly spelt out guidelines for troops. Therefore the Nigerian Military does not in any way condone indiscipline or breach of such regulations, let alone wanton killing or destruction. The Nigerian Military collaborate with the on training of personnel on laws of armed conflict and humanitarian law regularly.”

The Army Chief of Administration wondered why Amnesty has consistently refused to cooperate with the military in the quest to investigate alleged atrocities as it has consistently refused to send representatives to participate in such investigations.

“The military requested Amnesty International to provide a member for the investigation panel to look into the allegations but the invitation was not honoured by Amnesty International. The essence of offering Amnesty International membership of the investigation panel was to guarantee fairness and justice while proving to the world that the military has nothing to hide or cover up.

“The Nigerian Military has also allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit the detainees and other location at the shortest notice without hindrance and even talk to the detainees and locals. Certainly if the Nigerian Military has or had any reason to hide anything it could not have allowed International Committee of the Red Cross access to its facilities and operational area”, Abubakar stated.

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