THE Senate on Tuesday warned Amnesty International and the International Criminal Court against meddling in the affairs of the Nigerian military on the issue of human rights abuses.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, handed down the warning on behalf of his colleagues while reacting to the recent statements credited to Amnesty and ICC condemning the alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian Army currently prosecuting the insurgency in the North-East.
The Amnesty International in its report titled, ‘Nigeria: My heart is in pain – Older people’s experience of conflict displacement and detention in North-East Nigeria’, dated December 8, 2020, accused the military of human rights abuses in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria.
The ICC, on its part, threatened to investigate cases of human rights abuses by the Nigerian military.
But Ndume, in an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, vowed to formally move a motion on the floor of the Senate to warn the two international agencies against further comments about the issue.
He said, “You cannot cry more than the bereaved and they cannot be the prosecutor without the plaintiff. How can they prosecute without the plaintiff? We have the Nigerian Government, the federal parliament and the nation’s judiciary.
“If there are human rights abuses, it is only when there is a failure on the part of the three arms of government to act swiftly that we can draw the attention of the international community to it.
“There was a kind of confusion that led to the isolated cases of human rights abuses by the Nigerian Army and some of the armed forces. However, we stood up against it that time and that led to some soldiers court-martialed for human rights abuses.
“Some were even dismissed from the Army. For example, for involving in rape cases; it is not that the Nigerian Army is not doing anything about it. There is a department known as civil-military relations, created by the Nigerian Army to address such cases and they are doing well.
“The power of investigation lies with the National Assembly. Nigerians know where they would report cases of human rights abuses in case it happens anywhere.
“Let the Amnesty International and others leave us alone. These are the same international organisations that refused to give us support needed to fight the insurgency.”