By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the protection of human rights is a cardinal objective of the Buhari Administration, and that the violation of rights is not a government policy.
Addressing a high-level roundtable organized by the Atlantic Council, an American think tank on international affairs, in Washington, DC, on Thursday, the Minister said the picture of impunity and complete disregard for extant laws and international obligations painted by Amnesty International, in a recent report, was not a true reflection of the character and ethics of the Government of Nigeria or any of its agencies.
Since the counter-insurgency war started in 2009, Amnesty International has issued periodic reports on alleged human rights violations by the Nigerian military, with the latest of such reports
bordering on violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law by the Nigerian Armed Forces and other government agencies. Mohammed told the roundtable that the government has taken several measures to address human rights violation in the course of the counter-insurgency operations, including the establishment of Human Rights Desks in all military formations, the quarterly Human Rights/Military Dialogue, Training on Mainstreaming Human Rights into Counter-Insurgency Operations, and Court Martials of officers indicted for human rights violations.
‘’Very soon, the Federal Government will adopt a National Policy on the Protection of Civilians in conflict situations to further strengthen and entrench its constitutional practice of Protection of Civilians,’’ he said.
The Minister also spoke on the counter-insurgency operations, insisting that Boko Haram has been badly degraded hence it is incapable of carrying out organized massive attacks beyond using women and children to carry out suicide bombings against soft targets.