Reports Of Rights Abuses Exaggerated, Says Jonathan, Orders Soldiers, Police Probe In N/East

soldiers-boko haramPresident Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a probe into the allegations of human rights violation against the military and other security agencies involved in the ongoing war against insurgency in the North-East.

The president admitted that while there were grey areas, an investigation into the reports was necessary in view of the discovery that some of them were blown out of proportion.

He stressed that human rights issues were being exaggerated for reasons which he did not also disclose.

Jonathan spoke while declaring open a three-day workshop on Civil Military cooperation at the National Defence College, Abuja on Thursday.

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The Conference was organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser in collaboration with the European Union.

The president expressed optimism that the conference would provide the platform to discuss and take a position on issues relating to human rights in the ongoing counter insurgency operation.

He said, “I am particularly hopeful that collective resolve will be reached here in addressing human rights concerns associated with internal security operations in Nigeria.

The President said: “We have taken very seriously reports from some international organisations about perceived human right abuses by our security forces during military operations.

“Findings have generally shown that these reports are in the need exaggerated, we know that there are issues but the reports sometimes exaggerate the issues

“For me, maybe standing as a President of a country where we are fighting terror, if you make certain statements people will begin to interpret it to mean that the President is trying to defend the armed forces.

“Some may say the President is trying to protect himself from being dragged to The Hague; as it is now common for presidents to be dragged to The Hague. Some of these reports need to be properly investigated”.

He recalled a 1992 publication of photographs by a Port Harcourt based newspaper depicting Nigerian soldiers purportedly raping local girls in public in Choba community, Rivers State.

He continued: “I can recount an incident that happened in 1992. I can say exactly, a newspaper one morning came out with photographs of soldiers raping girls on the street of a community called Chuba and we were all alarmed that soldiers were raping women in Chuba.

“Choba incidentally is not a community that is hidden. That is where the University of Port-Harcourt is located. Investigation was made, even by civil societies; people asked questions and there was no incident like that at all”.

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