RETIRED Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, a former Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Commander in Maiduguri, said the Reuters report on illegal abortions was offensive to the image of Nigeria and the military.
Nicholas said this while testifying before the National Human Rights Independent investigative panel investigating human rights violations by the military in the counter insurgency operation in the North-East.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Commission inaugurated the panel on Feb. 8, 2023.
Following the allegations of gross human rights violations contained in the three-part report published in Dec. 2022 on military operations in the north east by media group Reuters hence the panel.
The international media organisation had alleged that the military was involved in massacre of children as well as other Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV) in the North East.
Nicholas wondered what the interest of some international non-governmental organisations were in the current insurgency in the North-East
“There are over 300 NGOs operating illegally in the region and some do not want insurgency to end in Nigeria.
“What is their agenda in Maiduguri?
“Some elements are trying hard to tarnish the image of Nigeria and that of the Nigerian Army by giving false narratives about counter insurgency operations in the North-East.
“People are being paid to write dirty reports for international organisations. The image of Nigeria, the image of the army are at stake.”
He said.the allegations of rights violations contained in a four-part report published in December, 2022 and April, 2023 by news agency Reuters, alleging illegal abortions on women and girls were not true.
“How is it possible for us to abort for women? If we abort for them, will that stop Boko Haram? Was that the cause of Boko Haram?”
” No commander would give an order to his soldiers to perform abortions for women,” he said.
He he told the panel that there was no massacre of civilians by the military as claimed by the news agency.
” The army’s mission in the North-East was to clear and defeat Boko Haram insurgents.
“My mission is to clear and defeat Boko Haram in my area of responsibility. To avoid any collateral damage, we evacuated all civilians who were willing to IDPs camps.
“In my operation area, there was nothing like that (massacre of civilians). The Nigerian Army is a professional organisation and soldiers are trained on human rights protection,” he said.
Similarly, Maj. Kehinde Aboseh, who testisfied before the panel narrated how civilians saved his life three days after he was shot by Boko Haram insurgents.
Aboseh, was an operation officer of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) at Kangaruwa.
He said, Boko Haram insurgents attacked and overran Baga in Borno in 2015.
On the report by Reuters that soldiers massacred children and other civilians, he said:” I am hearing this for the first time today.
”Many soldiers lost their lives during attacks Some soldiers including me were saved by civilians.
”Would the civilians have save us if we did those things Reuters is accusing us of doing?
NAN reports that the seven-member panel is chaired by retired Justice Abdu Aboki, of the Supreme court (NAN)
T.STags: Lafiya Dole Theatre Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV)