The Federal Government will implement the recommendations of the special investigative panel probing alleged cases of human rights violations in counter-insurgency in the North East.
Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN, made this known when members of the Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter-Insurgency Operations in North-East Nigeria (SIIP North East) visited him to brief him on the progress so far made by the panel.
“President Mohammadu Buhari has established a record of compliance with the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission. (NHRC)
“For example, the payment of N135 million as compensation to victims of human rights violations as recommended by the NHRC after the public hearing of the case of the Apo 8.
“Federal Government is ready to implement the recommendations of the panel as soon as it is ready,” he said.
Mr Malami also said the federal government is committed to upholding human rights and ensuring justice for victims of human rights violations in the Northeast.
He urged all stakeholders to support the work of the SIIP-NE and the NHRC in achieving these goals.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu. SAN said it was important to brief the minister about the work of the panel.
He solicited for support from the ministry of justice, considering the enormous task that the panel has to accomplish.
Mr Ojukwu reminded the minister of the harmonized Legislation of the Commission which has just been passed by the Senate and is awaiting presidential assent.
”We are appealing to you to use the influence of your good office to ensure the presidential assent of the harmonised legislation of the commission.
”It will go a long way to assist the commission to effectively deliver on its mandate,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Panel, retired Justice Abdu Aboki expressed the commitment of the panel to unravel the truth contained in the three-part report released by a foreign news agency Reuters in December 2022.
Earlier, the Secretary of the Panel, Hilary Ogbonna, highlighted the activities of the panel which included consultation, partnership, public outreach, and public hearing.
He said the panel has heard 33 testimonies from witnesses, 16 of them civilians and 17 were top military officials including three Theatre Commanders of Operation Lafiya Dole now Operation Hadin Kai.
Following the allegations of gross human rights violations contained in the three-part report published in December 2022 on military operations in the north east by media group Reuters hence the panel.
The international media organisation had alleged that the military was involved in massacre of children as well as other Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV) in the North East.
However, the military has refuted the allegations saying that it was a ploy to malign the image of the Nigerian Armed Forces which has been at the forefront of the counter insurgency efforts in the North East.
NAN reports that other members of the panel are Kemi Okonyedo, representing Women’s Rights Organisation, Azubuike Nwankenta, representing NBA.
Others are retired Maj Gen. Letam Wiwa rtd (Military Law and Intelligence Expert), Dr. Maisaratu Bakari (Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola).
Also are Dr Fatima Akilu (Humanitarian Expert, representing Civil Society) and Halima Nuradeen (Psychologist, representing Youths) and Hilary Ogbonna as the secretary