A civil rights organisation, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has dismissed as dubiously self-serving; subjective; wishy-washy and pre-determined the report granting clean bill of health to the Army by a military panel which investigated the claims made by a former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (retd) that soldiers were colluding with armed hoodlums unleashing bloody violence.
It stressed that the report released by the Army authority wherein the allegations made by Danjuma were dismissed as untrue, cannot stand the test of time because it was made by a panel largely composed by the same military officers and their cronies masquerading as civil society stakeholders who in any event are the accused and friends of the accused in the allegations of collusion with armed hoodlums.
HURIWA maintained that it was incredible that the Army’s authority had to set up such a “Kangoroo panel” after the media director of the Defence Headquarters has already dismissed the allegations, stressing that the setting up of the panel was basically a product of an afterthought caused by mounting criticisms of the military in the aftermath of the allegations of collusion with armed bandits by the military as made by Danjuma who is one of the few remaining pioneer military officers of post-independence Nigeria.
The group, in a statement issued on Monday by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it was unfortunate and disappointing that the Army “could waste money and resources to procure the same pre-determined conclusions that had already been made public by the Directorate of Media and Public Relations in the Defence Headquarters.
“Besides, the Investigative panel was not independent and the members simply executed a choreographed plot aimed at providing a pre-determined clean bill of health that could patch up any bad publicity and damage to the corporate image of the military institution done by the allegations.”
HURIWA called on the federal government to institute an independent body of investigators to conduct evidence-based findings and the investigative mechanisms must comply with best global practices including the identification, collection and documentation of available evidence with the strictest confidentiality and the security of the persons giving evidence guaranteed.
“We call on government to ensure that the membership of such an independent investigative team must be headed by a respected statesman/woman not below the rank of a serving justice of the supreme court of Nigeria, even as representatives of the security forces, credible, tested and trusted civil society platforms and experts in forensic investigations must become part of such a comprehensive, objective, science-based and thorough probe of the allegations of collusions in the killings by the Army,” it said.