Human Rights Commission inaugurates Special IIP on Counter insurgency Operations in North East


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday inaugurated the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in the Implementation of Counter Insurgency Operations in the  North East.

It would be recalled that the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu  had last week named a 7-Member Panel chaired by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Abdu Aboki to investigate allegations of human rights violations levied against the Nigeria Military by Reuters (a foreign media organization).

Reuters had reported that the Nigeria Military was involved in a secret abortion of many pregnancies in the North East, infanticide and other forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the last 10 years.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu said the panel followed 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, saying the National Human Rights Commission invoked its inherent, express and incidental powers as contained in sections 5 and 6 of the NHRC Act as amended to constitute a special independent investigative panel.

He enumerated the terms of reference of the panel; to investigate allegations of gross violations of national and international human rights laws/principles alleged against the Nigerian Armed Forces in the three reports by Reuters, in line with
(Sections 5(a)(b)(j) and 6(1)(a) of the NHRC Act, 2010).

“Receive memorandum from individuals and organisations with interest in the subject matter of the mandate of the SIIP North-East, especially human rights, security and humanitarian organisations working in the North-East.

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“Make appropriate determinations as to culpability of individuals or institutions as may be deemed necessary in each circumstance. (Section 5(j) of the NHRC Act 2010). 

“Make determination as to the damages or compensation payable in relation to any violation of human rights where it deems this necessary in the circumstances of the case (sec. 6(e) of the NHRC Act, 2010).

“Refer any matter of human rights violations requiring prosecution to the Attorney General of the Federation or of a State, as the case may be. (Section 5(p) of the NHRC Act, 2010).

“Make recommendations to government on: Institutional, Policy and Regulatory measures to be taken to integrate human rights principles and practices into military and counter-insurgency operations.

“Propose Remedial steps that may enhance the professional conduct of military personnel in counter-insurgency operations and any other related issues that the SIIP North-East may considered appropriate”.

According to Ojukwu, the SIIP North-East shall operate under the mandate of the National Human Rights Commission and shall enjoy its express and incidental powers under section 6(1) and (2) of the NHRC Act.  

“As I inaugurate this panel today, it is the hope of the Commission and indeed every Nigerian that this panel will work hard with all the human and other resources at your disposal to investigate and unravel the truth behind these allegations and ensure that justice is done in all appropriate cases” Ojukwu said. 

Justice Abdu Abolki, who spoke on behalf of the panel said they are encouraged and impressed by the concerns that have been shown by Nigerians and  international partners since the publication of the reports. “It is now our job as a panel to investigate all the allegations of gross human rights violations raised in the reports”.

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“I am confident that with the support and cooperation of the Commission, the governments of the states of the north east and the stakeholders in the north east, military and humanitarian responses, we will deliver on this monumental task before us”.

Aboki added that the panel will endeavour in every respect to abide by the rules of natural justice. 

“We will be fair and just to all manner of persons who appear before us as victims, witness, respondent, Officer, Counsel and citizens”. 

Members of the panel include, Ms Kemi Okenyodo, representing Women Rights Organisation, Barrister Azubuike Nwankenta, representing the NBA, Major General Letam Wiwa Rtd. – Military Law and Intelligence expert.

Others are, Dr Maisaratu Bakari, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola, Dr. Fatima Akilu, Humanitarian Expert, – Representing civil society, Ms Halima Nuradeen, Pschologist – Representing Youths, while Hilary Ogbonna will serve as secretary of the Panel.


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