Nigeria’s Military Wants To Be Part Of Human Rights Violation Probes

Military, Human Rights The Nigerian military has appealed to human rights organisations to carry the military along during any human rights violation investigations involving the armed forces.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, made the call at a seminar on the “administration of military justice system” on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He decried that most times, the military was indicted before they were asked to comment on the recommendations of a report.

General Buratai noted that the military should be involved from the moment the violations were identified and co-opted into the investigation process.

He told the gathering that the military had established a human rights desk to address the perceived impunity carried out in the army.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, spoke on the state of human rights within the Nigerian Army.

The facilitator, Nigerian Military/ Human Rights Dialogue, Mr Olawole Fapohunda, said the aim of the seminar was to improve the human rights record of the Nigerian military.

The military said it was committed to tackling the challenge of compliance with the minimum human rights standard in the administration of military justice in Nigeria.

Army Defends Operation In Niger Against Suspected Gun Runners

Illegal ArmsThe Nigerian Army has defended its operations in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State, saying its troops were on operation aimed at safeguarding lives and property of citizens in the area before they were attacked by suspected armed bandits.

Speaking at the fourth National Human Rights Commission and Nigerian military dialogue on human rights, the Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Abubakar, said the troops were attacked by some gun runners and armed bandits in Kopa, Dagma and Gagaw villages of Bosso Local Government Area.

General Abubakar vowed that the military would deal with any violent threat to national security.

It was a day of sorrow and tears for some residents of Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State as the Nigerian military repelled an attack on troops of 31 Artillery Brigade.

The troops were said to be on an internal security operation in the area before they were attacked by alleged gun runners.

The soldiers responded and killed eight of the attackers.

Presenting a progress report on civil-military relations, the dialogue facilitator, Olawale Fapohunda, advised the Federal Government to reduce the burden of internal security placed on the military.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, appealed to the Federal Government to promptly pay the entitlements of soldiers who died lives defending the nation to their families.

Although the August 6 encounter between the military and the alleged gun runners has been brought under control, the military expressed concerns about the activities of gun runners in the region.

It said their activities had direct bearing on the influx of weapons in some parts of the federal capital territory and the north-west geo-political zone.

Rights Commission Asks Women To Report Cases Of Violence

Bem Angwe on violence against womenWomen in Nigeria have been asked to report any form of violence against them to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure their issues are addressed.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, said that the demand was part of efforts to protect the rights of women.

Professor Angwe gave the advice in Abuja on Friday.

He said violence against women was increasing because many women had refused to speak up when their rights were violated.

Increasing Cases Of Violence

The rights commission’s head advised officials of the National Council of Women Societies to sensitise women in Nigeria about their rights.

During a meeting between women groups under the umbrella of the National Council of Women and officials of the NHRC, Professor Angwe stated that the focus of the meeting was the increasing cases of violence against women.

The Executive Secretary of the NHRC assured the women of the commission’s preparedness to uphold the rights of women.

The National President of the Council of Women Societies admitted that violence against women throve because many women do not know their rights and those who knew cover up cases of such violence.

The National Human Rights Commission and the National Council of Women Societies later signed a memorandum of understanding to promote and protect the rights of women in Nigeria against all forms of violence.

Human Rights: Partnership With Military Is Yielding Results, NHRC Tells UN Envoy

soldiers and officersThe National Human Rights Commission’s involvement in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria has impacted on the professionalism of the Nigerian Military, a senior official of the commission said on Tuesday.

At a meeting on Tuesday with the Regional Representative of the United Nations High Commission of Human Rights, Mr Andrea Ori and a team of human rights experts, the Executive Secretary of the Commission Professor Bem Angwe, said the military had observed the rules of engagement with the insurgents to avoid civilian casualties.

The rights commission’s boss also acknowledged the support of the UN system especially the UNDP and National Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) which he noted had deployed monitors to the North East and North Central zones for the purpose of monitoring human rights situation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the area.

He also informed the UN delegation that the Commission had continually engaged the Federal and State governments on the need to provide entrepreneurial skills to the IDPs while facilitating their safe and voluntary return to places that are safe and habitable.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, who also doubles as the Chair of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa, will be organising a conference on Human Rights and Terrorism which will point the way forward as well as evolve measures to re-integrate victims of terrorism.

According to Professor Angwe, the Executive Secretary of the sub-regional body, Mr Saka Azimazi, would give an update on the reports of human rights situation of member states before the Annual General Assembly to take place later in the year.

Earlier, the Regional Representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Andrea Ori commended the Commission for protecting the electoral rights of Nigerians and ensuring a successful advocacy against electoral violence during the 2015 general elections.

The UN envoy noted that the Commission, under Professor Angwe had made giant strides toward entrenching a culture of human rights to the extent that respect for the sanctity of the electoral process had come to stay in Nigeria and urged other countries in the sub-region to borrow a leaf from this.

Human Rights Commission Assures IDPs Of Safety

Borno idpsThe National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has assured Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abuja that the commission will do all it can to ensure their safety and right to shelter.

The Promise was made in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, on Friday by the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Professor Ben Angwe, while receiving displaced persons from WASU IDP camp in Apo District of the Federal Capital Territory.

Some of the IDPs were at the commission’s office to seek help, following an eviction notice by the owner of the estate they had taken refuge.

He assured the developer that the commission would work to ensure that the IDPs were relocated within the shortest possible time by the relevant authorities.

After the meeting, the Executive Secretary and his team joined the displaced persons to the said settlement where he inspected their living conditions.

2015 Elections: Commonwealth Tasks INEC On Transparency 

Kamalesh Sharma
Mr Kamalesh Sharma said there is a zero tolerance for non-democratic countries

Ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Mr Kamalesh Sharma, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be transparent in the conduct of all elections, especially in the coming year.

Mr Sharma, who gave the advice in Abuja on Friday at a meeting with officials of the commission, stressed that the electorate should be allowed to choose their leaders in an atmosphere of peace.

“In the heart of democracy is the will of the people. what does the people want in respect of a choice and leadership? The starting point of any democracy process in a country is credible and peaceful elections,” Mr Sharma said.

He further advised the commission to avoid postponing election dates without justifiable reasons, saying elections should not be held at the political convenience of parties.

The acting chairman of the commission, Ishmael Igbani, who received the commonwealth officials, highlighted the activities of the commission, saying efforts have always been made to constantly improve on the performance of the electoral body.

At a separate meeting with officials of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Sharma urged the commission to ensure that people’s rights were not violated for whatever reason.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Bem Angwe, pledged the commitment of the commission to executing its mandate despite the present security challenges in Nigeria’s northeast.

The visit by the Commonwealth Secretary-General is aimed at strengthening its relationship with key institutions within the commonwealth.