By Michael Oche, Abuja.
An International human rights advocacy group, Global Amnesty Watch (GAW) has scored the Nigerian military high in its operations as part of the mid-term assessment of the Counter-Insurgency War under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The group highlighted areas such as improvement in its human rights records as well as success in the war against insurgency, adding that in the period under review, the army under the leadership of COAS and President Muhammadu Buhari has entrenched the highest level of professionalism and transparency.
The mid-term report was carried out in collaboration with Centre for International and Strategic Studies headed by Professor Danfulani.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Global Amnesty Watch Representative on African Affairs, Tom John Lever the current administration promised to fight the Boko Haram insurgency when it was sworn-in on May 29, 2017, according to him in line with this promise, a notable shift in strategy and outcomes was noticeable, especially from when the military chiefs were changed.
He said following the successes recorded by the military, the US government, which earlier blocked sales of arms and hardware to Nigeria has softened its stance and the embargo has been lifted.
According to him, the deal for the sale of A29 Super Tucano aircrafts to Nigeria’s military is a direct outcome of the notable changes the world has seen both in the improved due diligence that eradicate corruption in military procurement and improved human rights records that meet international standards.
He said, “The military operation in the northeast has successfully liberated the towns and villages that came under the control of insurgents.
“A first batch of 21 Chibok Girls have been freed followed six months later with another 82 of the girls freed. The terrorists are being pressured to free the remaining girls. As at May 2017, 11,894 other hostages of the terror group had been freed.
Hundreds of other hostages have been freed in the period since then.
Several Boko Haram fighters with their commanders (amir) have surrendered, been captured or killed. Many others fled underground and are hiding among civilian population and in refugee camps.
“The military chiefs changed the status quo by being entrenched with the troops on the war front, shared the same ration with them and lead from the front. This has boosted morale while giving the commanders first hand access to the implementation of the rules of engagement.
“The Nigerian Army opened a Human Rights Desk in October 2016 and this contributed immensely to adherence and compliance with rules of engagement.
“In December of 2016 Camp Zero, Boko Haram’s former operational base was taken effectively marking the end of terrorists having a structured physical base. The same area from where the terrorists hatched their evil is now the Colonel Ali Shooting Range.
He recommended that the government, particularly the Nigerian Army and by extension the entire military, must continue to do the needful to ensure that the civilian population remain protected from insurgent, adding that the adherence to the rules of engagement along the current levels should continue.
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