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The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday called on the armed forces and those in government to ensure that their activities conform with human rights norms and basic rules of decency observed across the world.
Osinbajo said history had taught him that the failure of the nation’s justice system to respond adequately to crisis was a major factor leading to greater conflict.
He made this remark while inaugurating a Presidential Investigation Panel to Review the Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, it is widely known that the conduct of the nation’s defence and security forces against insurgency in the North East and militancy in the Niger Delta had in recent times attracted significant commendation.
He recalled that at the inception of the present administration, seven local government areas were under the control of Boko Haram while virtually all of them have now been recovered by security forces.
He said, “Indeed, conventional human right norms and conventional human rights observers are challenged by some of the various nuances of asymmetric warfare.
“Nonetheless, there have been a series of allegations levied against security forces by some local and international commentators.
“It is our belief, that if left unaddressed, these allegations are capable of undermining the good work of the men and women of the Armed Forces who have largely conducted themselves in a disciplined and professional manner.
“Failure to examine some of these allegations will also leave those who may have been victims of such abuses without any recourse to justice.
“And if history has taught us anything, it is that the failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis is usually a recipe for greater conflict.”
Osinbajo said for the Federal Government, respect for the lives of Nigerians was not just a constitutional but also a moral duty.
While urging members of the panel to discharge their duties diligently, impartially and with all sense of professionalism, the Acting President 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 as follows:
1. Hon. Justice Biobele Geogrewill – Chairman
2. Maj. Gen. Patrick Akem – Member
3. Olawale Fapohunda – “
4. Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim – “
5. Jibrin Ibrahim – “
6. Mr. Abba A. Ibrahim – “
7. Mrs Ifeoma Nwakama – “
8. Dr. Fatima Alkali – Counsel to the Panel
9. Mr. S. Halliru – Secretary (OSGF)