By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Major General Hassan Umoru (rtd) on Wednesday denied ever witnessing the allegations of gross human rights violations levelled against Nigerian Army in its report of December 2022.
A former theatre commander of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, who highlighted that his period there lasted for about two and half months, said the Army by training is designed to rescue people in war situation rather than involve itself in allegations of gross Human Rights violation.
He stated this while speaking at the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violation in Counter Insurgency Operation in the North East, which held in Abuja.
General Umoru said the report of Alleged Human Rights Violation by the Military during counter insurgency operation published by Reuters is unfounded.
In his words: “The allegations that the Nigerian Armed Forces burnt down houses human beings were living in thereby killing them and carried out series of abortions, particularly that of a 14- year old is touching. But at no time did I experience the scenario you have just painted. Nigerian Army is designed to rescue any person who falls victim of casualty. I am surprised that Reuters Report run such commentary, may be they are referring to another country not Nigerian Army.
The former General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3 Division Nigerian Army, Jos noted that the allegations by Reuters is very touching, however exonerated the military from any infractions on human rights.
“Never a time did the Nigerian Army experienced what Reuters alleged” Umoru said.
The former theatre commander, who told the panel that he held sway for only two and half months said that most often Boko Haram disappeared on sighting troops of the Nigerian Army.
It would be recalled that Reuters in December 2022 published allegations of gross Human Rights Violations against the Nigerian Army. The report alleged illegal and forced abortions by the Army, killing of children and Human Rights Violations against women.
Commenting on medical assistance to victims of insurgency, General Umar (rtd) observed that though the 7 Division Medical hospital was in place, the GOC was responsible for drafting medical of the 7 Division.
Similarly, Umoru dissociated the Army when the panel alleged that they burnt down houses where human beings lived, reportedly administered poison and opened fire on children, the former theatre commander said “am not aware of these allegations, when we sit down with officers, we examine situation, compile the report and forward to headquarters” he said.
According to Umoru “There was never a time of misbehaviour, honestly am surprised to hear all that have been said.
“Nothing of such happened, may be we have to ask Reuters”.
Umodu noted that in theatre operations, nothing is done in isolation, the wall hears.
“The situation in the Nigerian Army is that you must take orders from your superior” Umar added.
Reaching to the allegation that Reuters said these were testimonies of some military officers, he stressed that in the theatre of operation, nothing is done in isolation, if the soldiers successfully do that , I cannot reconcile it. For them to go on rheir own is unimaginable.