Respect For Human Right Is Paramount, NHRC Tells Nigerian Military

The National Human Rights Commission NHRC, the Human Rights Agenda Network and the European Union have called on officers and men of the Nigerian Military to make respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms paramount as they discharge their constitutional responsibilities during the counter insurgency operations and at all times.

The Ag Executive Secretary of the NHRC Mrs. Oti Anukpe Ovrawah made this call at the opening session of a three day training on mainstreaming human rights, humanitarian principles and civilian protection into counter insurgency operations in the North East which was organised by the NHRC and UNHCR.

Mrs Ovrawah who commended the efforts of the military for degrading insurgency in the region said although there are bound to be human right violations during any war situation, the Commission and its partners are committed to continuously build the capacity of Military personel in order to equip them with the capacity to mainstream human rights into the counter insurgency operations.
human right

Mrs Ovrawah further stated that the task of ensuring security in the face of the recent activities of terrorists in Nigeria has become more challenging, considering the nature of the asymmetric warfare where combatants and civilians are hardly differentiated.

She however expressed optimism that continuous training will make the military imbibe the respect for human rights as they try to protect the civilian populace during any period of unrest.

The UNHCR Country Representative said protection of population of concern is Paramount during counter insurgency operations.
 The Acting Head of UNHCR in Yola Mr. Mohammed Tejan Cole who represented the Country Representative said protection issues deserve to be treated with utmost attention.

Mr.Cole said engaging with the military has created an avenue for them to access remote location where IDPs are in dare need of protection.

Mr. Cole said “civilians look up to the military to provide protection because the military is instrumental in combating terror attacks and this makes them feel safe”
On his part Commander 153 Base Service Group, Nigeria Airforce Yola, Air Comodore Abdulahi Anderson Kassim said people now have more confidence in the Military especially now that they are winning the war against insurgency. He said ” we now have better Civil Military relations and it can only get better”. He acknowledged that recurrent training of the military in counter insurgency is yielding fruits.

The project coordinator who is also the Director of Monitoring Department  of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq. said ” at the end of the training we would make bold to say that we can fight insurgency as well as respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens. 

He said the common impression that it is impossible to respect human rights during war situation will soon be a thing of the past.

Fatimah Agwai Mohammad
Head, Media Unit.
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