The Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Gabriel Olonisakin on Tuesday inaugurated the Defence Headquarters Independent Committee on Human Rights to look into allegations of gross human rights abuses by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Inaugurating the Committee at the DHQ in Abuja, Olonisakin said it was necessary to dispel wrongly held opinions that the Armed Forces of Nigeria condones and encourages violation of human rights in their operations.
The CDS, however, said the Armed Forces was not unaware of some isolated cases of human rights violations, adding that such instances are promptly dealt with.
He said: “you must have also noted our engagement with Amnesty International, National Human Rights Commission and Civil Society Organizations to put the record straight when the need arises”.
The CDS pointed out that: “it became necessary to task independent minded individual to examine the conduct of our operations”.
According to Gen. Olonisakin, though most of the accusations emanate from the north east in ongoing counter terrorism operations, the focus of the committee should not be limited to north east alone.
He said the committee is required to collate and document written complaints and investigate all alleged human rights violations.
It is also to interface with human rights bodies, recommend sanctions where necessary and advise DHQ on modalities to curtail violations by troops.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, retired Major General Abubakar Mustapha Gana, gave assurances that they will conduct unbiased investigations.