The Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter-Insurgency Operations in North-East Nigeria (SIIP North East) has so far heard 50 testimonies in its facts finding mission, following alleged reports by Reuters.
Mr Hilary Obinna, the Panel Secretary, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola, at the ongoing fact- finding mission, in the North-East counter-insurgency operations.
NAN reports that the Panel was inaugurated on Feb. 7, by Chief Tony Ojukwu, SAN, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in response to the publication of a three-part report by Reuters news agency in December 2022.
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The alleged reports include massacre of children, Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and secret abortions, conducted on over 10,000 pregnant women, rescued from Boko Haram captivity.
Obinna, who is the human rights adviser to the commission, said the testimonies were received during the panel visit to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
“So far we have collected testimonies from over 50 witnesses, including the Nigeria Armed Forces, Military, civilians and hospitals of the three states.
“We are just concluding our hearing in Yola. We are going back to Abuja to continue with our documentation and analysis of evidence that we gathered,” he said.
NAN also reports that the panel on Saturday, visited Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital (MAUTH) Yola, Specialist Hospital Yola and Army Barracks Medical clinic of 23 Artillery Brigade, Yola,
NAN reports that the international media organisation had alleged that the military was involved in massacre of children as well as other Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV) in the North East.
However, the military has refuted the allegations saying that it was a ploy to malign the image of the Nigerian Armed Forces which has been at the forefront of the counter insurgency efforts in the North East.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said:”It’s outright nonsense.
“Their allusion is news to me. It never occurred. I never saw anything like that from Maiduguri down to Maimalamari Cantonment where I lived that is a major hospital for our personnel and their family. I am disappointed to say the least. So it is not true.”
NAN reports that members of the panel are retired Justice Abdu Aboki, Supreme Court justice as Chairman, Ms Kemi Okonyedo, representing Women Rights Organisation, Mr Azubuike Nwankenta, representing NBA
Others are retired Maj.-Gen. Letam Wiwa, (Military Law and Intelligence Expert), Dr. Maisaratu Bakari (Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola).
Others are Dr Fatima Akilu (Humanitarian Expert, representing Civil Society), and Ms Halima Nuradeen (Psychologist, representing Youths).