The Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Nigeria has rubbished the recent report by the United Nations about corruption, describing it as a written script to favour Islamic terrorists and some looters.
The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations (UN) had in a recent report accused the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari of not doing enough to stem what it termed high level of corruption, killings and human rights violations among others by various agencies of government.
The UN had in the report queried the Federal delegation led by the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Amb. Audu Ayinla Kadiri, on the killings of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly, acknowledged and known as Shiites.
However, the Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights said upon receipt of the report of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations states that the conclusion arrived by the committee was not at best a reflection of the issues on the ground as it concerns high level of corruption, killings, and human rights violations.
The coalition in the report jointly signed by Chijioke Ude Esq, Secretary-General and Kolawole Oso Head, Civil Military Affairs, said the UN in its report failed to touch on the activities of foreign NGO’s operating in North East Nigeria.
It asserted that the United Nations Committee on Human Rights failed to act in the best interest of women and children who have been at the mercy of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist in northeast Nigeria and other sundry issues on national interest.
The report below.
The report was released after its review of the implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Nigeria.
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE UN REPORT:
The UN queried the Federal delegation led by the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Amb. Audu Ayinla Kadiri, on the killings of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly, acknowledged and known as Shiites.
On liberty and security of persons, the committee sought clarifications on arrests carried out in the absence of a warrant and the related regulations and safeguards. Lengthy pre-trial detentions remained a problem, and information on this matter was needed.
THE POSITION OF THE COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA:
The Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights upon receipt of the report of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations states that the conclusion arrived by the committee is not at best a reflection of the issues on the ground as it concerns high level of corruption, killings, and human rights violations.
As a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on conflict resolution and human rights in Nigeria, it is sufficing to state that there has been proper documentation of issues as they relate to the execution of the war against terrorism and other militant groups in Nigeria since 2015.
In the areas highlighted in the United Nations report, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights had before now commissioned a total of four types of research under the various sub-themes in a bid to stay abreast of the happenings and to be able to hold government accountable at all times. The sub-themes are:
• Human Rights Violations
• Extra-Judicial Killings
• Activities of Non-Governmental Organisations operating in North East Nigeria
• The Non-Commitment of the United Nations Authorities towards protecting women and children in a conflict zone.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS:
Since 2015, a lot has been done by the Nigerian authorities to improve its human rights records, especially with the war against terrorism and other militant groups in the country such as the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Niger Delta Avengers. It is, therefore, sufficing to state that the various researches commissioned by the Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights indicate that the human rights ranking of Nigeria has improved tremendously since 2015.
However, this position differs from the report of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The reason adduced to this difference is the fact that the United Nations Committee might have relied on information provided through second hands means as against commissioning research work on the field. This has been the bane of the myriads of the inaccurate news report on the war against terrorism in Nigeria against the Nigerian Army.
On the part of the Nigerian Army, the Army hierarchy has also done quite substantial to improve its relationship with the civilian population. And one of such initiatives is the establishment of Human Rights Desk which was borne out of the increasing interest of the local and international human rights bodies on what the army was doing in the North East and other parts of the country.
The postulation that the Nigerian Authorities had attempted to cover up for extrajudicial killings is at best an assumption which is based on hasty generalization and illogical conclusions. The issue of extrajudicial killings has taken centre stage in various forays in Nigeria. It remains one topic that has been given extensive research on to put matters in proper perspective.
From the available information gathered, it suffices to state that the issue of extrajudicial killings has been over flogged with little or no tangible evidence to bolster the point. The narrative has been twisted to favour Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist whenever they come under a heavy bombardment of the Nigerian military, and also the propaganda campaign of IPOB and IMN seems to have blown issues out of proportion. But ironically same is not given prominence whenever Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist kill women and children, abduct young girls from their dormitories and slaughter young boys in their prime. This is also same when IPOB or IMN members’ attacks unarmed civilians, disrupt public peace and cause untold hardship on the people.
It is a fact that since the advent of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the issue of corruption has been adequately addressed. The UN committee did highlight corruption as one of the banes of the present administration. But in truth, it is not a reflection of the issues on the ground, which again can be excused given the fact that rumour merchants are ever willing to sell their commodity to unsuspecting members of the public at all cost.
For a fact, the Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights have been privy to documents that relate to expenditures in critical sectors such as security. And it is this strength that it can be said that the level of accountability and transparency in the procurement and budgeting process is commendable. A good example was when the Nigerian Army made public its expenditure on the war in North East from 2015 to date upon a request by a civil society organization (SERAP).
ACTIVITIES OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS OPERATING IN NORTH EAST NIGERIA:
The United Nations Committee on Human Rights for inexplicable reasons failed to touch on the activities of foreign NGO’s operating in North East Nigeria. This is mainly on the heels that there have been several reports on how international NGO’s are exploiting the war situation in North East Nigeria and undermining counterterrorism efforts of the Nigerian authorities.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights has within its disposal sufficient materials that indicates how foreign NGOs have indeed constituted a threat to the operational efforts of the Nigerian military in the ongoing war against terrorism in North East Nigeria.
The activities of foreign NGOs in North East Nigeria can be best described as counter-productive and serving the interest of a few who are hell-bent on seeing to the disintegration of Nigeria. These NGOs exploit the plight of women and children for monetary gains. They mostly depict a picture of thorough despair makes believe recording orchestrated by them all in an attempt to continue to justify their relevance in the theatre of operations for continuous funding from their sponsors.
THE NON-COMMITMENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS AUTHORITIES TOWARDS PROTECTING WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN A CONFLICT ZONE:
The plight of women and children in the theatre of operations in North East Nigeria has received extensive attention especially with the new strategy of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist using women and children as sex slaves, suicide bombers and also a human shield to perpetuate violence.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) whose operations in Nigeria has been dogged with a lackadaisical approach has been reluctant and in most instances unperturbed by the actions of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists towards women and children. It is instructive to state that the bulk of the suicide bombings are carried out by young boys and girls that have been either brained washed or threatened with death by Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
This anomaly has been reported by a substantial number of civil society organizations, and yet the United Nations have not risen to the occasion to enact measures that would see to the protection of women and children from the hands of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
The position of the UN on this critical issue is suspect and an indication that it is either shying away from its responsibilities or it is in cahoots with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist. That the United Nations Human Rights Committee didn’t highlight the plight of women and children is also a worrisome aspect that should not be swept under the rug. It sufficiently indicates that there are political undertones to its recently released report, hence a need for members of the unsuspecting public to tread with caution.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Nigeria having extensively researched on the various issues canvased by the United Nations Committee on Human Rights states that the United Nations are indeed the guilty party having for inexcusable reasons defaulted in his core mandate to Nigeria been a member state of the United Nations.
The critical aspect women and children were highly neglected by the United Nations Committee on Human Rights in the compilation of its report. It also for inexplicable reasons didn’t touch on the threat posed by ISWAP fighters along the fringes of the Lake Chad basin region that is capable of putting Sub Saharan Africa at risk.
The United Nations Committee on Human Rights acted in haste and without recourses to the peculiarities of the war and the commitment of the Nigerian Authorities in the areas above.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights affirms that the Nigerian Authorities since 2015 have exhibited a commitment to upholding the human rights of its citizens regardless of religion, ethnicity, or sex. Though contrary to the position of the United Nations Committee on Human rights, it is sufficing to state that all the information provided herein are first hand derived from years of research work that engaged directly with the relevant actors in offices and on the field. As against relying on rumours, and second-hand information.