Gen. Lucky (LEO) Irabor, Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff

Alleged Secret Abortions: Nigerian Military challenges Rights Commission to probe

*Gen. Lucky (LEO) Irabor, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, assures the West African country’s Military is guided by law, and will allow the National Human Rights Commission ‘unfettered access to our establishments’ to undertake investigations of alleged human rights violations in the North-East crisis

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

General Lucky (LEO) Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), in Nigeria, has expressed the readiness of the country’s Military establishment for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate allegations of secret abortion programme in the North-Eastern part of the country.

General Irabor stated this when he led some Senior Military Officers to the NHRC Headquarters in Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports  there have been high-pitched reactions to the accusations contained in a foreign news agency  report, purporting that the Nigerian Armed Forces are directly involved in a government programme procuring illegal abortions for released female hostages from the Boko Haram captivity in the North-East from 2013 till date.

The allegations against the Military have also drawn the ire of several individuals, rights groups, and global institutions, including the United Nations (UN), thereby calling for a thorough investigation in recent times.

However, in the latest reactions to the widespread accusations, the CDS said: “In recent times, there have been reports which alluded that the Armed Forces are involved in a government programme of abortions in the North-East of Nigeria from 2013 till date.

“That report was published by Reuters and of course, when we looked at it, we felt, ‘This is certainly not us, and it does not, indeed, represent the professional standing of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“It does not also indicate the DNA of our operational engagements not just in North-East of Nigeria, but across the length and breadth of this country where we have footprints of operations in line with the duties of the Constitution.”

Irabor also stressed that country’s Military, guided by law, saw it fit to submit itself to the NHRC as the appropriate establishment to undertake investigations of alleged human rights violations.

NHRC stands a good ground to do investigations: CDS

Irabor further told the Commission: “The NHRC stands a good ground to carry out such an investigation and if that would be what you decide to do, I wish to use take opportunity to assure you that we grant you unfettered access to our establishments across not just the North-East but across the country.”

Responding to the CDS assurance and cooperation in this regard, Anthony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of NHRC, explained that in keeping with international standards, such an investigation has to be public, open, transparent, and comply with the principle of fair-hearing and accountability.

Ojukwu also stated in his address during Irabor’s visit to the Commission: “Your request today is in line with the determination of the Commission to investigate the allegations because of the human rights implications.

“Accordingly, your visit and request has coincided with the resolve of the commission to investigation in the Reuters report because of the human rights implications in the report.

“As you may be aware, the investigation process of the commission must meet the international human rights standards required for this kind of investigation.”

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