August 20, 2021

Alleged Rights Abuse: We’ve no case to answer — Defence Minister

*Remaining 6 Super Tucano aircraft to arrive Nigeria in Sept — US Ambasssdor

By Kingsley Omonobi, ABUJA

The Minister of defence Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (retd) has dismissed allegations of violation of human rights levelled against the country by the international community on the account of the mode of operation of the nation’s fighting forces in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the North-East.

He made the denial when the United States Acting Ambassador to Nigeria, Kathleen Fitz Gibbon, visited his office in Abuja on a courtesy call.

The minister told the US envoy that President Muhammadu Buhari was a stickler for domestic and international laws that forbade abuse of human rights.

READ ALSO: We have zero tolerance for Human Rights abuse – Army Chief

According to him, Nigerian troops are guided in their operations by the extant laws of the land as enshrined in the constitution and rules of engagements and other laws against abuse of human rights.

Emphasizing that the military would not renege on its avowed compliance to the rule of law in a democratic environment and the military’s commitment to defending the national interest, no matter whose horse is gored, Magashi asked rhetorically: “What else should Nigeria do to protect human rights and Child Protection Act that the country is not doing at present?’’

He, however, thanked the US Africa Command, AFRICOM, and the US Office of the Defence Cooperation for the delivery of the NAF Super Tulcano aircraft and the training of NAF pilots and engineers.

Earlier, the US Acting Ambassador to Nigeria, Kathleen Fitz Gibbon, pledged continued support to Nigeria, adding that the remaining six Super Tulcano planes would arrive the country next month.

Gibbon appreciated the progress Nigeria had made in fighting insurgency and the nation’s compliance with protocols.

She also appreciated the Minister for the audience and the agreed plan to reconvene another meeting soonest to consider various documents before the Ministry of Defence touching on the way forward for the promotions of Human Rights and Child Protection Act among other areas of common concerns to the two countries.

Vanguard News Nigeria