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Nigeria: Osinbajo receives report on alleged rights violations by the military, promises implementation
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By Victor Iluyemi
February 9, 2018 12:24:54pm GMT      |      Views: 255
Professor Yemi Osinbajo

WorldStage Newsonline-- Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN on Friday at the Presidential Villa received on behalf of the President received the report of the Presidential Investigation Panel on the Review of the Armed Forces Compliance with Human Rights Obligation and Rules of Engagement.

According to a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Office of the Vice President, he said the need to understand issues surrounding allegations of rights violations by the military and government’s desire to protect the sanctity of human lives, necessitated the setting up of the panel.

According to him, “The reason why we took this decision was because we felt it will be important to understand exactly what the issues are. You know of course that there have been several allegations of human rights violations but at the same time we recognized that the military was functioning in a largely unknown territory.”

Speaking further on the rationale behind the setting up of the panel, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “the military functions in many cases as the police and in very asymmetric situations and several times, we had to ask ourselves whether, what the military and law enforcement agencies have to cope with today, does not really redefine, in some senses, the rule of engagement.” 

 “Because of the sanctity of the rights of our people, the sanctity of our lives and livelihoods, it is absolutely important that we ensure that we are finding out, whenever the occasion arises, whether their rights are being respected or are being violated especially in situations where you have light conflicts or even serious conflicts, or situations where there are security concerns all over the country; this was why this panel was put together,’’ the Vice President added.

Prof. Osinbajo assured that the Federal Government would carefully study the report and carefully approach implementation.

He said: “One thing that is certain is that whatever the findings are, not only will they be referred to the relevant agencies of government but also to the military especially, where there is a need for disciplinary action, and if there is a need for civil authority or the court to take action, that will be done.”

The Vice President who was referring to an earlier statement by the chairman of the panel, said “I am also intrigued to know that in the places you visited people still felt that they require military presence, which shows the confidence that people have in the Nigerian military, and is a good thing in many ways.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Biobele Georgewillsaid the assignment took the team to the six geo-political zones especially in communities where people openly expressed the desire to have military presence in their midst.

Justice Georgewill added that allegations of rights violations was a direct consequence of increased visibility of the Armed Forces in the society, stressing that it could be minimized by equipping the police to be more effective in discharging their duties.

He also expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for the privilege to serve, noting that members were indeed grateful for the call to serve Nigeria.

The eight-man investigation panel was inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in August 2017.

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