Amnesty International has called on the federal government to investigate the nine military commanders it indicted in its report for human rights abuses in Nigeria.
Responding to the summary of the report by a the Nigerian military panel investigating the allegations of human rights violations, the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said thursday in a statement that the military panel was not independent and impartial as recommended by the human rights body.
The group, however, welcomed the panel's recommendation that there should be a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into these allegations of horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the North-east.
The Media Manager of Amnesty International, Isa Sanusi, quoted Ojigho as also saying that the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct independent investigation into the allegations of human rights violations by the soldiers must be implemented as a matter of urgency.
"We stand by the findings of our research and our call for an investigation that is independent, impartial and thorough; criteria that this panel clearly does not meet. We maintain that the nine senior commanders named in our report should be the subject of an effective and independent investigation. To this end we welcome the panel's recommendation that there should be a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into these allegations of horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in north east Nigeria," Ojigho explained.
"President Buhari promised an independent investigation into our allegations of human rights violations and crimes under international law two years ago. This is a vital step and must be implemented as a matter of urgency by the government. Amnesty International's priority is justice, human rights and the dignity of human life in Nigeria. We maintain that those suspected of committing human rights violations and crimes under international law on all sides of the conflict must be brought to justice in fair trials before civilian courts without recourse to the death penalty. We also urge the military to make the whole of this report public," Ojigho added.
THISDAY had reported that the military panel had exonerated the military over allegations in its confrontations and treatment of Boko Haram terrorists and internally displayed persons (IDPs) in its operations in the North-east, as well as members and sympathisers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The report was presented late Wednesday by the Head of the Nigerian Army Civil Relations, Maj-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, alongside the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman.
The United States and British embassies in Nigeria had also withdrawn and denied entry visa to some serving and retired Nigerian Army (NA) officers, according to the report of the Board of Inquiry.