ABUJA- The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has expressed deep concern over the escalation of violence in major cities in north-east Nigeria, including Damaturu, Potiskum and Maiduguri, respectively in Yobe and Borno States .
The Commission, however, calls on both the security agencies and the Ahlussunnah lidda’awati Wal jihad,Boko Haram, to show respect for the sanctity of human lives by co-operating in an impartial investigation of the on-going situation in the region, including an impartial assessment of the deepening humanitarian situation in the region.
The Commission has received reports from various sources which confirm that since about 21 December 2011, violent encounters between alleged Boko haram members and a deployment of the Joint Task Force (JTF) has resulted in unspecified number of casualties, among whom are unconfirmed numbers of security personnel and alleged Boko Haram members.
These encounters have also led to mass internal displacement of civilian populations from settlements around Potiskum, Damaturu and Maiduguri, including women and children who were said to have fled their homes for safety.
The commission’s Acting Executive Secretary Mrs. Oti ovrawah said: “The Commission recognizes that there is a grave security situation in north-east Nigeria but the scale of casualties reported in these operations so far is quite disturbing. Any deployment of deadly force must be governed by clear rules of engagement and proportionality.
In the absence of such rules, any killings that result must be seen as extra-judicial killings.
Extrajudicial killing is a grave violation of human rights that must be fully investigated and sanctioned in accordance with applicable laws.
Given these circumstances, the Commission is currently examining the parameters for undertaking an independent and impartial investigation into the human rights situation in north-east Nigeria. The Commission will welcome the co-operation of all concerned parties in this process.”
The Commission is extremely concerned that no appreciable progress has been made in resolving the underlying issues leading to the violence in the north-eastern States of Nigeria and calls on all stakeholders to cooperate towards achieving a restoration of peace in the region and ending the on-going loss of lives through violence.
The Commission transmits sincere condolences to all persons bereaved by these operations.