Rights activists in the Federal Capital Territory have lent their voice on the Amnesty International’s report on the rape of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, by military personnel.
They advised the government to purge the military of suspected rapist personnel, and also involve organised civil society groups in the review of the Amnesty report to ensure objectivity in the process.
According to Samson Itodo, the Convener of the Not-Too-Young-to-Run movement, it had become worrisome to citizens that the military was always indicted in human rights abuses. He believed the allegations were weighty to attract serious attention by the government.
“The federal government should not sweep the issues raised in the report under the carpet but should do all within its powers to ensure the military is purged of men involved in devilish acts such as the raping of vulnerable IDPs,” Itodo said.
In the same vein, the Executive Director, Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation, Barrister Nnamdi Okere, said involving CSOs in the review of the report will ensure absence of undue manipulation of the process.
His words: “Let the government setup and give a freehand to an independent panel involving credible CSOs to review the Amnesty report and investigate the truth of the allegations against the military.
“Rather that condemning the report, the government should take it seriously as it concerns human rights abuses. No one should be spared, if an independent review of the report indicts him or her.”
On why the government should not sweep the allegations under the carpet, Itodo said “Looking at the reputation and pedigree of Amnesty International, we are bound to believe the report. More so, many local organisations have released similar reports against the military.”
For Barrister Okere, the premonition of a negative story on the military personnel leaves more than meets the eyes.
He said: “It is debilitating and suspicious that the Nigerian army could even pre-empt the release of the report. It raises eyebrows as to what the military could be wishing to hide from the public.”