President Goodluck Jonathan has said that proper investigation is needed to verify the various human rights abuse allegations levelled against Nigerian military and security agencies, which he said is being exaggerated.
Jonathan stated this at a three-day International Workshop on Civil Military Cooperation organized by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the European Union (EU).
He said: “We have taken very serious reports from some international organisations about perceived human rights abuses by our security force during military operations.
“Findings have generally shown that these reports are indeed exaggerated, we know that there are issues but the report sometimes exaggerate the issues.”
President Jonathan explained that the current state of insurgency throws up threat and distinct challenges to our security forces.
He assured that the Federal Government will do its best to ensure that soldiers or troops involved in internal and external operations do that in line with the country’s law.
The President also appealed to the Human Rights Communities for broader cooperation and deeper understanding of the circumstances that the country faces and for greater appreciation of the efforts put in place for improved civil-military relations as identified by this workshop.
“Our commitment to continue to investigate and bring to a just and fair closure any suspected or reported case of human right abuse shall go on unhindered.
“This workshop will no doubt serve as a veritable platform for the Nigerian armed forces and relevant security agencies to key into international best practices in this very requirement for the conduct of successful counter-terrorism and other emergent military operations”, he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the ceremony and former Head of State Gen. Abudulsalam Abubarkar (rtd) said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies face the issue of human right hence the training curriculum in all the country’s military training establishments include a component of human rights.
Abubakar said that it was therefore imperative that the deliberations at this workshop should proffer some modalities for integrating human rights and best practices across the globe for institutionalizing respect for the rule of law via internal security operations.
In the same vein, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Sambo Dasuki said that the workshop was intended to support the Armed Forces, the Police Force and the department of State Services in the internal security operations .
Dasuki said that the workshop will also raise the security agencies level of compliance with provision of international humanitarian and human rights law in accordance with international best practices
“It will also provide a medium to develop synergy among these agencies. This considered timely especially now that there are various allegations leveled against security agencies in the on-going counter terrorism operations”, he said.
Also speaking, the Head of EU Delegation Mr. Michel Arrion said that the workshop should be considered as a landmark in particularly the support of EU to Nigeria on soft approach to counter-terrorism.
Arrion who was represented by the First Secretary and Head of Section National Regional Development, Mr Alen Monday, said that the project is one of the projects the EU is implementing in Africa.