December 5, 2020

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Alleged Military Abuses: Presidency replies Amnesty Int’l on judicial panel report

Alleged Military Abuses: Presidency replies Amnesty Int’l on judicial panel report

The Nigerian government said on Tuesday that a report submitted by a judicial panel which probed alleged rights abuses by Nigerian armed forces is currently being considered, hours after a rights group complained it was already taken too long to do so.

Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday morning that the presidency has failed to disclose the outcome of the seven-member panel more than a year after it was set up, expressing fears the report might be condemned into the archives like similar ones before it.

“The government must make good on its promise and show its commitment to transparency and accountability by publishing the report and publicly revealing how they will ensure justice for the victims,” the rights group said in the statement. “Far too many previous investigative panels and inquiries set up by the government in the past ended nowhere, with no reports published to the public and little evidence of action taken by the government.”

Amnesty was amongst several other rights groups who joined victims to make presentations before the judicial panel, led by Biobele George of the Court of Appeal. The panel submitted its findings in February, but nothing has been heard from the Buhari administration ever since, a situation that has continued to unsettle rights groups.

Laolu Akande, a spokesperson for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said in a message to PREMIUM TIMES that another committee was raised to adopt a white paper on the report, indicating that it was not yet an appropriate time to make details of the report by Mr Georgewill’s panel public.

“There is a committee set up by the Federal Executive Council to draft the white paper,” Mr Akande said. “That committee has just commenced.”

The spokesperson did not elaborate on the deadline given to the committee or its terms of reference.

Mr Osinbajo set up the probe panel in July 2017 as acting president while President Muhammadu Buhari was on a prolonged medical vacation in London.

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