Boko Haram: Troops must respect human rights – Gen. Irabor

The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, says his troops must respect human rights in the counter-insurgency operation against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East Zone.

A statement issued on Tuesday by Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, said Irabor made the assertion when he received the representative of the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, in Maiduguri.

Irabor said that the provisions of the Operation’s code of conduct and rules of engagement were testimonials to the professional and positive disposition of the command and its troops to human rights and international humanitarian laws in the conduct of the war against terrorism.

He said that compliance with human rights and other laws of conflict had been brought into the mainstream of training in the Nigerian Army.

“Aside the code of conduct which has been adequately distributed to troops, the Nigerian Army has also established Human Rights Desks at the Army Headquarters and Divisional Headquarters,’’ he added.

He reiterated that military duties revolved around personal and national sacrifice.

Irabor, however, expressed dismay that the military which had volunteered to sacrifice for peace and development of the nation was being perceived in some quarters as willingly violating human rights.

He assured the commission of the willingness of the Theatre Command to partner it in promoting human rights accountability in the North East Zone.

Ojukwu, on his part, said the commission was pleased to acknowledge that the military was already conscious of the need to carry out the counter-insurgency operation with utmost respect for human rights.

He noted that respect for human rights was beneficial to both the military and Nigeria in general.

Ojukwu commended the army for initiating the quarterly human rights dialogue with the commission, saying it had further enhanced the human rights disposition of the force.


Source: Today

UK, U.S. Partner Nigerian Police Force On Human Rights Protection

Respect and protection of the rights of citizens has been described as the cornerstone of effective community policing.

The Director of U.S. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in Nigeria, Ms. Roselyn Wiesse, stated this at an advanced human rights training for officers of the Nigeria Police.

She said protecting the rights of citizens was the best way to gain the trust of communities in Nigeria, and to show the people that the Police was capable of protecting them from prevailing security threats.

Ms. Wiesse added that for Police to perform its functions creditably, it must prioritise the respect of citizens’ rights in the course of discharging its constitutional duties.

Elsewhere, the Nigerian Security and Justice Adviser at the British High Commission, Katrina Laird, also advised the Police to be conscious of the citizens while performing its duty.

Ms. Laird spoke at an event organised by the Commission to train Police officers in Nigeria’s northeast on how to perform effectively in a vulnerable environment without infringing on the rights of citizens.

She stressed the need for the Force to make room for trust on the parts of citizens in the performance of their duties.

On his part, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahm Idris, described the training as apt, considering the sensitive and vulnerable nature of Police operations in the northeast.

Other participants at the event urged participating officers to ensure the lessons learnt at these training reflect on their skills in their various operations.


Source: Channels TV

President Buhari Calls for Action on Human Rights Watch’s Reports on IDP Abuse

President Muhammadu Buhari is worried and shocked by the recently released Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which alleges sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls in camps for those displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The welfare of these most vulnerable of Nigerian citizens has been a priority of his government. Nigerians and the international community can rest assured that the allegations raised in the HRW are not being taken lightly.
President Buhari has instructed the Inspector General of Police and the state governors of the affected states to immediately commence investigations into the issue. Their findings will determine the next course of action for the government and define an appropriate response.
While the Nigerian military continues to work hard so that these unfortunate victims of Boko Haram terrorism can soon return safely to their homes, the government will do its best to ensure their protection and welfare in the temporary IDP camps

Indian Woman Ends 16-Year Hunger Strike

An Indian rights activist who has waged what is thought to be the world’s longest hunger strike ended her fast on Tuesday after vowing to continue her struggle by standing for election in her home state. Irom Sharmila Irom Sharmila, dubbed the “Iron Lady of Manipur” for her unwavering protest against alleged rights abuses by security forces in the insurgency-hit northeast Indian state, was released on bail after she promised a court she would end her fast.

The 44-year-old had been held in judicial custody on charges of attempting suicide — still a criminal offence in India — and confined to a hospital where she was force-fed through a nasal tube. Speaking to journalists outside the court in the Manipur capital Imphal, she said her long campaign had not worked. “I went on a fast for about 16 years thinking I could change the system, but I now realise that this will not yield any result. “So I decided to end my fast and join politics and then fight for the cause that I undertook this mission for — justice,” she told journalists, speaking in her native Metei language. Irom is campaigning for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which covers large parts of the northeast and the restive state of Kashmir.

It gives Indian forces sweeping powers to search, enter property and shoot on sight, and has been criticised as a cover for human rights abuses. The Indian government says security forces need the powers to help them battle multiple rebel groups whose long-standing demands range from secession to greater autonomy and land rights. – Frail but determined – Amnesty International India campaigner Abhirr VP called Irom’s hunger strike “a testament to her passion for human rights, and her belief that a draconian law like the AFSPA has no place in any society”.

Irom began her fast on November 2, 2000 after allegedly witnessing the killing of 10 people by the army at a bus stop near her home. Two weeks ago she surprised supporters by declaring she would end it to stand as an independent candidate in state elections to be held next year. “My fight so far has been all alone and so I have decided to wage a war against the (AFSPA) act democratically by becoming a lawmaker instead of continuing with my fast,” she told reporters at the time.

On Tuesday she appeared frail but determined as she spoke to reporters, the plastic tubing still taped to her nose. After the hearing she was taken back to the hospital where she has spent much of the past 16 years to complete the legal formalities of her bail. Magistrate Lamkkhanpau Tonsing said she was being released after submitting bail of 10,000 rupees ($150) and a written pledge to stop her fast. It is not clear whether she will return to the family home — she has said she would like to marry her fiance, a British national of Indian origin who she met after starting her fast. Doctors have said she will need medical help to begin eating again. Amnesty International declared her a Prisoner of Conscience in 2013 and she has received several prestigious international prizes, including a lifetime achievement award from the Asian Human Rights Commission. But support in her home state has waned in recent years. Irom’s brother Singhajit told journalists she would either contest the election as an independent candidate or form a new party to “fight for the causes of the people of Manipur”.

FG Assures ICC Of Commitment To Global Human Rights Standards

The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja expressed commitment to upholding the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs including counter-insurgency operations in the country.


Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN) made the pledge when he received a delegation from the office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, the minister assured the delegation that Nigeria had high value for its relationship with the ICC.


Malami said that the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the North East region of the country in a highly professional manner, imbibing best practices in the areas of international human rights.

He also said that he was aware of the eight case files opened against Nigeria by the ICC which the prosecutor intended to investigate in her next stage of assessment of the Nigeria situation.

According to him, six of the alleged cases were committed by the Boko Haram sect while the remaining two are by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The minister insisted that Nigeria had the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country.

“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will, therefore, continue present efforts in the above direction.’’

He further added that the government was committed to ensuring that troops were guided by the rules of engagement, promising that any infractions would be severely dealt with.

He solicited the support and understanding of ICC and the international community especially in regards to the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Responding, the leader of the delegation, Mr. Phakiso Choko, said that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.

He said that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through the internal mechanism.

The prosecutor, through the delegation, expressed support and willingness to work with Nigeria in addressing all identified crimes and criminality against humanity.



Buratai Inaugurates Human Rights Desk Office

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has assured members of the public, as well as the local and international human rights bodies that the Nigerian Army (NA), under his leadership will investigate all cases of human rights complaints brought before it.

To this end, Buratai has in a first of its kind within the military, on Thursday, set up and commissioned Human Rights Desk office under the Department of Civil-Military Relations.

Represented by the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs (CCMA) Maj-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, at the Commissioning of the Desk, COAS said that the event marks another important day in the history of Nigerian Army “by establishing the human rights office”.

He noted that the establishment of the Desk office was borne out of the increasing interest of the local and international human rights bodies on what we are doing in the North East and other parts of the country.

Credit: DailyTimes

Human Rights Abuse: Army Chief, Amnesty International Hold Talks

The Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria, General Tukur Buratai, on Thursday told a delegation from the Amnesty International that the military is making conscious effort to check human rights abuse by officers.

General Buratai’s statement is made in response to accusations by the rights advocacy group that personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces carried out extra-judicial executions.

According to Amnesty International, about 20,000 cases of extra-judicial executions had occurred in Nigeria since 2012.

The Director Of Research Africa, Amnesty International, Netsanet Belay, told General Buratai that there was a serious concern that Nigeria needed to address.

“Its military is implicated in committing serious forms of war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

“We have looked into various aspects of this. We have documented over 20,000 cases of extra-judicial executions and we believe that over 1,200 men and boys may have been extra-judicial executed since 2012.

But General Buratai insisted that officers were trained to discharge their responsibilities professionally.

He told the group that the Nigerian Army had set up an internal Human Rights Desk to receive reports of human rights violation by officers.

“Before the establishment of the Human Rights Desk in the Army Headquarters, we had established a contact group between the Nigerian Army and the National Human Rights Commission. All issues of human rights that have been forwarded to the attention of the Nigerian Army we have investigated them and followed them to their logical conclusions.

“Similarly, all the issues that were brought to the Army, where human rights were alleged to have been violated, we have equally investigate them,” the Army chief told the human rights advocacy group.

He assured members of the public, the local and international human rights bodies that the Nigerian Army, under his leadership, would investigate all complaints of human rights violation brought before it.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Buhari Assures EU Of Commitment To Human Rights Protection

The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday told the European Union that his administration was doing its utmost best to protect the fundamental human rights of persons in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations against Boko Haram insurgents.

The President gave the assurance on Wednesday while addressing a special session of the parliament in Strasbourg, France.

President Buhari said that his government shared the European Union’s commitment to peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy and good governance as well as equality and tolerance as ways of developing prosperous and strong societies.

On our part, we have updated our Rules Of Engagement in fighting terrorism and pay very close attention during operations to the treatment of captured terrorists, civilians caught up in the conflict and in general, safeguarding property.

“Our aim is to use minimum force necessary in our fight against terrorists,” the President told members of the parliament and the European Union commission.”

Credit: ChannelsTv

Shiite Leader Debunks Human Rights Abuse Claims

One of the leaders of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Abdulmumi Giwa, has denied allegations of human rights abuse levelled against their members by residents of Zaria.

Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, Mr Giwa described the allegation by the Gyullesu elders as a propaganda sponsored by government.

He said the government was using the claims to justify the killings of innocent members of the movement, popularly known as Shiite, and to distract the attention of the public over the recent incident.

The Shiite frontrunner also said the claims were mere lie.

The leader of the group, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, had lived with Gyallesu residents happily, despite attempts by security operatives to cause disharmony at various times.

Credit: ChannelsTV

National Human Rights Commission To Investigate The Army/Shiite Clash

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC on Tuesday, has set up a Special Investigative Panel to investigate the circumstances that led to the bloody clash between the Nigerian Army and the Shiite Muslim sect in Northern Nigeria.

The clash, which took place during the weekend, took the lives of seven people and injured 10 others.
A statement by the commission, said the panel was set up by the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe, following a petition lodged against the Muslim sect by the Nigerian Army and some concerned citizens.
The statement signed on behalf of Prof. Angwe  by Mr. Lambert Okpara read:

“In setting the panel, Prof. Angwe stressed the need for all the parties in the dispute to sheath their swords and assured that the commission will get to the root of the matter

“The Executive Secretary noted that the country is operating a democracy which demands that institutions must act within the ambit of the law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“In a democracy, the rule of law is supreme and it is important that we continue to remind everyone about the need to respect each others’ right.”

Angwe said the commission will thoroughly investigate the incident with a view to find ways to address the current issues and preventing future occurrence.

The panel made up of top management staff in legal, investigations and monitoring departments of the NHRC is headed by Mr Tony Ojukwu, Director, Monitoring Department.


Obama Addresses AU, Emphasizes On Human Rights

Barack Obama arrived at African Union headquarters Tuesday, where he will become the first US president to address the 54-member continental bloc, at the end of a tour focused on corruption, rights and security.

In his speech, President Obama addresses climate change, security, food security, human rights and democracy.

Details on his speech will be brought soon…

35 Of Bill Cosby’s Alleged Rape Victims Line Up For The First Time #Photo

If Bill Cosby really raped all of these women and more, then something must have been wrong in that man’s mind.

Thirty-five of Bill Cosby’s alleged sexual molestation victims have posed for a photograph on the front of the July 27 edition of New York magazine, giving their accounts of what happened to them at the hands of the now controversial “Cosby Show” star.

Coming into the light for the first time together, the publication lines the 35 women up on chairs in a visually shocking front cover snap, and displays interviews with the women in question within the
pages of the magazine.

Noreen Malone wrote within the mag: “”The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study – both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period. In the ’60s, when the first alleged assault by Cosby occurred, rape was considered to be something violent committed by a stranger … But among younger women, and particularly online, there is a strong sense now that speaking up is the only thing to do, that a woman claiming her own victimhood is more powerful than any other weapon in the fight against rape.”

The testimony and photographs that appear in the mag display in no uncertain terms, the scale and diversity of the alleged abuse, with alleged victims ranging in age from their early 20s to 80, including women who were Playboy bunnies, TV writers, journalists and waitresses.

“I went into this thinking he was going to be my father. To wake up half-dressed and raped by the man that said he was going to love me like a father? That’s pretty sick,” one of the women, Barbara Bowman, 48, said of her experiences with Cosby in the ’80s. “I felt like a prisoner; I felt I was kidnapped and hiding in plain sight. I could have walked down any street of Manhattan at any time and said, ‘I’m being raped and drugged by Bill Cosby,’ but who the hell would have believed me? Nobody, nobody.”

Another victim speaking up in the mag: Cosby Show writer Sammie Mays, 57, claims an encounter with Cosby in 1987 derailed her life. “When I see Jell-O pudding, it comes flooding back,” she told the magazine. “Bill Cosby, that encounter, that one time, played a major factor in the direction my life took, toward the dark side.”

The publication is available for purchase now, and you can also see video interviews with the women on the magazine’s website.

35 doesn’t sound that much until you see a picture like the one at the top with 35 women sitting down, claiming they have been raped by the same man.

APC Pledges To Address Human Rights Abuse In Rivers

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday in Abuja pledged to address all issues of human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by the Rivers government.

The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, made the pledge when all 23 local government chairmen in Rivers paid a courtesy visit to the party’s national secretariat.

The chairmen were at the secretariat to report purported cases of human rights violations, unpaid salaries and monthly allocations to the state and intimidation to their persons by Gov. Nyesom Wike.

Odigie-Oyegun assured the grassroots leaders that APC followed due process, adding that the party would not “allow the blood of the innocent to be shed
for political reasons.

“I want to give you the assurance that yes, things have changed in this nation, and those who are still testing our resolve will discover sooner than later that they are absolutely on the wrong track.

“The fact that we are a party of law, a party of order, a party of due process does not mean we will allow impunity to continue.

“We will not allow the blood of innocent to be shed on the platform of politics or for political reasons.

“If the PDP in Rivers does not recognise that change has in fact come to this nation, then they will be doing so at their own peril because there certainly will be consequences.

“We cannot allow our members, innocent citizens to be witch-hunted, to be slain, to be abused the way they are used to and the way it has been happening,” he said.

He said that the friction in the state could be attributed to the fact that APC won all local government seats in PDP-controlled Rivers.

According to him, the party is aware of the “high price’’ paid by executives of its state chapter to what they had accomplished.

The chairman promised to liaise with the legal adviser of the party to ensure justice. “We are very much aware of the way things are run…. but I urge you to be strong because the day of reckoning is certain.

“We will certainly call for all those who have acted against the laws of this nation and who have brought injury and harm to innocent citizens of this country.

“This is not the kind of regime that allows or tolerates impunity.

“I want you all to be courageous, strong, law-abiding, knowing that you can see the light definitely at the end of the tunnel.

“It is immediate that we do something about those who are tormenting innocent persons.

He said that APC would not ask for favours from law enforcement agencies, “given the kind of leadership we have of President Buhari.“

“We are going to just ask them to abide by the constitution of the nation and discharge their duties with equity to all and with bias toward none,” he said.

Mr Chimbiko Akarolo, the Chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Area, who led the delegation, told Odigie-Oyegun that the allocation meant for the local government councils had been seized since the present administration assumed office.

“We want to let you know that as soon as we got into office, the minority party informed us that as soon as they get into office at the state level, we’ll be dissolved.

“We took the right step, we went to court and we got an injunction dissuading them from doing that.

As as soon as we did that, the state government went on air directing all financial institutions not to deal with us. “We can’t take loan, we cannot function, and we can’t take facilities. As I speak, our allocation has been seized, workers have not been paid, we have not been paid,” he said.

He pleaded with the party to “use every means necessary to sustain the local governments in Rivers’’ by informing every instrument of government to compel the state government to release allocations owed them.

Akarolo said that there was need to improve the security situation of the local government chairmen, adding that they had no security details since they took over.

The chairmen present at the visit include Ahoada East, Bokana, Bonny, Ikwerre, Ogbia/Andoni and Port-Harcourt local government, among others.



Bamidele Aturu

The struggle for transparency and openness received a boost today, the 1st day of March 2012 as Honourable Justice B.F.M Nyako of the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court granted the claim of Olasupo Ojo Esq in his action for himself and on behalf of the Committee for the Defence Human Rights (CDHR) under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. The law firm of Bamidele Aturu and Co had approached the court on behalf of the Plaintiff for an order of mandamus directing the EFCC to disclose to or make available to him the information he requested in his solicitor’s letter to the Commission dated the 7th day of June 2011.

It will be recalled that the EFCC had accused Mr Ojo who was then the President of the CDHR of compromising himself and the organization by collecting the sum of N52 Million from some of the suspects being investigated by the Commission in order to weaken it. On the instruction of our client we wrote pursuant the Freedom of Information Act to the Commission on the 7th of June 2011 demanding the following:

a.       Name of the suspect or suspects that gave N52 Million to the leadership of the CDHR

b.      Persons in the leadership of the CDHR to whom the money was given

c.       The manner in which the money was paid, that is, when, where and how.

The Commission, under the controversial former leadership, failed to deliver the information sought by our client in breach of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The order of the court today is a mandatory one which must be obeyed by the Commission. Effectively, the court has directed the Commission to supply the information requested by us on behalf of our client.

We expect the new leadership of the Commission to comply with the Court order forthwith. But if it does not, we will do everything humanly and legally possible to ensure that somebody gets decisively punished for disobeying the order. Our firm reiterates that in order to build democracy, statutory bodies must refrain from maligning credible individuals to score cheap and infamous points. We are committed to this goal implacably.

In the meantime we are grateful to God that we succeeded in obtaining the first order under the Freedom of Information Act. We also commend the justice for her courage. Nigerians must make use of the Act to expose corruption and corrupt or reckless public officials. May God bless Nigeria.

Bamidele Aturu Esq