Nigerian Army has established a human rights desk at its headquarters, Abuja, aimed at investigating all cases of human rights violations reported against its officers and men.
Consequently, the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has assured members of the public, as well as the local and international human rights bodies that the Nigerian Army under his leadership will be thorough in investigating all cases of human rights complaints brought before it.
Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, CCMA, Maj-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, at the commissioning of the unit said that the event marked another important day in the history of the Nigerian Army.
The COAS stressed that setting up of human rights office became necessary due to increasing interest of the local and international human rights bodies on what the army are doing in the ongoing counter-terrorism war against Boko Haram in the North East and other uprisings in some parts of the country.
Buratai also noted that the Army is trying to open up the system close the gap with the civil populace, human rights bodies and civil society organisations.
He said: “The concept note for the efforts of the Human Rights office in the Army Headquarters has as a result of increasing interest of local and international Human Rights organisations and institutions in the Nigerian Army human relations footprints but specifically in areas of our operations in North East.
“The nature of inquiries and commentaries from these institutions require a response of professional and specialised nature by the NA. What we are witnessing today has been facilitated by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and National Human Rights Commission, NHRC”.
According to the army chief, some of the functions of the newly established human rights desk under the supervision of the CCMA, as well as inputs from the Provost Marshal’s office, include receiving documents, investigate complaints from individuals, organisations and institutions on rights violation involving NA personnel.
“They are also to make their findings to the COAS on human rights complaints in the country; produce annual reports; review, update existing training manual; facilitate participation of NA officers in local/international training programme,” he said.
Buratai further listed other functions of the desk, including liaising and facilitating interaction with the human rights organisations; strategise and strengthen capacity of the NA in promoting human rights; and as well as developing a network of contacts of human rights offices in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, NHRC, Prof. Ben Angwe has commended the Army for the novel and bold initiative, noting that the army has set a commendable precedence for other services of the armed forces.
Angwe, represented by a Director at the NHRC, Mr. Saka Azimazi, therefore pleaded that the office remain open for enquiries and that technical and logistic assistance be given to the desk to operate effectively.

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