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FG raises panel to probe alleged impunity in terrorism fight

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), yesterday, inaugurated Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter-Insurgency Operations in North East Nigeria (SIIP North East) to probe alleged impunity in the region. Its Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu (SAN), while inaugurating the team in Abuja, charged the members, drawn from major professional bodies, to work hard towards meeting the terms of reference.

Headed by a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Abdu Aboki, the panel is 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 (Sections 5(a)(b)(j) and 6(1)(a) of the NHRC Act, 2010).

“Receive memoranda 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.”

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

Others are: “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 violation 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).”
Responding, Justice Aboki promised to do substantive justice to the task.
“Our panel will endeavor 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,” he pledged.

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