By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Shehu of Borno Alhaji Abubakar Umar-Garbai El-Kanemi has applauded the Federal Government for setting up the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in the Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East (SIIP-NE), saying it is timely and well deserved.
The topmost Traditional Ruler in the North East made this commendation during a courtesy visit by the members of the panel to his palace. While expressing delights at the visit, His Royal Highness said the Emirate is worried about the Reuters’ report, describing it as capable of distracting the military from carrying out their operations which according to him have brought relative peace to Borno state and the North East region in general.
“We are happy with the setting up of the panel by the government, it is a relief to us because we are hopeful that it will get to the root of the matter and unravel the truth” he stated.
The Royal Father recalled that prior to the deployment of troops on counter insurgency operations to Borno and other parts of the North East, several villages were captured, airports were inoperative, roads were barricaded, telecommunication was interrupted, women and school children were kidnapped at random by the insurgents.
Conversely, the Monarch said atrocious crimes and grave human rights violations became minimal with the massive deployment of troops, saying that he will be highly surprised if the panel finds the military guilty of unprofessional conduct and human rights violations.
He ceased the opportunity to appeal to the government to render more humanitarian assistance to his people who according to him have suffered displacement, forced migration, loss of family members, farmlands, and jobs, etc as a result of insecurity in the region.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Chief Tony Ojukwu OFR, SAN, said the panel visited the Shehu of Borno before the commencement of sittings so that the Emirate will be aware of the presence of the panel in the State as well as the objective of the panel.
He noted that Reuters’ report has serious human rights implications, and as an Independent body which among other responsibilities, is mandated to assist the government to fulfil its international human rights obligations, the Commission deemed it fit to establish the panel.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki (rtd) said the visit is necessary to enable the panel to achieve its objective of arriving at the truth of the matter and serving justice to all parties.