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Osinbajo tackles Nigeria’s armed forces, sets up probe panels



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The Nigerian government has finally set up a commission to investigate alleged rights abuses by the military–allegation that have been lingering for months of agitations by local and international groups and media accusing the military of high-handedness.
The presidency released a statement announcing the establishment of a judicial commission of enquiry.
“Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has appointed a 7-man Judicial Commission, headed by Justice Biobele A. Georgewill, of the Court of Appeal, to review compliance of the Nigerian Armed Forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, especially in local conflict and insurgency situations,” a statement by Mr. Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, said.
Some of the allegations that have been levelled against the military by groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch include extra-judicial killing of over 300 Shiite protesters in Kaduna in 2015, of pro-Biafra protesters in the south-east, and that of suspected Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east.
The military has always maintained it did nothing wrong and recently set up its own panel which cleared it of any wrongdoing.
Akande said the presidential committee is empowered to review extant rules of engagement applicable in the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the extent of compliance thereto.
“It is also empowered to investigate alleged acts of violation, (by Nigerian security agencies) of international humanitarian and human rights law under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Geneva Conventions Act, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and other relevant laws,” he said.
According to him,  the commission equally has a mandate to investigate factors that might be militating against resolution of local conflicts and insurgencies and also advise on means of preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in conflict situations.
Members of the judicial commission include Mr. Georgewill as Chairman; and Patrick Akem, a major general, as member.
Other members are Wale Fapohunda, Hauwa Ibrahim, Jibrin Ibrahim, Ifeoma Nwakama, and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The Commission is expected to commence work immediately and submit its report within 90 days.

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