Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Nigerian Army and Amnesty International clash over report

The Nigerian Army has reacted to the recent report published by the human rights group, Amnesty International, regarding the reinstatement of Major General Ahmadu Mohammed into military service.

Amnesty International in its report, alleged that Major General Mohammed, was involved in human rights abuses while he was the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Maiduguri, Borno state.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 2, by the acting director public relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, a copy obtained by Naij.com, the Nigerian Army thank the exalted body for its observation.

The Nigerian Army said it is not an aberration for the international human rights body to raise such an observation, but faulted the fact that it failed to consider the circumstances that led to his illegal retirement and the legal procedure that was followed in his reinstatement.

“The compulsory and premature retirement of Major General Mohammed did not follow due process and was rather arbitrary. The senior officer was never charged, tried, let alone found guilty of any offence that justified his premature retirement. The action was therefore a clear violation of extant rules, regulations, as well as Terms and Conditions of Service of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. This obvious violation prompted the senior officer to seek redress using the appropriate legal means.

“Consequently, the realization of these omissions called for a review of the case by the Army Council and his subsequent reinstatement into the Service. Evidently, the objection to his reinstatement into the Nigerian Army was ill-informed and being respecter of law, the protector and promoter of human rights, the organization should be guided by this principle and not by sentiments or act on the basis of misinformation,” the statement read.

Colonel Usman asserted that the Nigerian Army will appreciate it more, if Amnesty International can provide records and evidences directly implicating Major General Mohammed in human rights violation and abuse to enable the institution act swiftly.

The institution assured Amnesty International that, the Nigerian Army respects human rights, saying: “We are ready to partner with the organisation in promoting human rights protection and development.”

Sahara Reporters on Wednesday, January 13, reported that the Nigerian Army has reinstated Major General Mohammed, the former commander of 7th division in Maiduguri, Borno state, who was reportedly shot at by soldiers under his command at Maimalari Barracks in 2014. The soldiers shot at him after they lost 12 of their colleagues in an ambush to Boko Haram members at Chibok community.

The above incident occurred when Boko Haram terrorist group was at its peak of destruction in the North East. The soldiers morale were low as they kept complaining of low wages as well as inadequate supplies of weapons to fight the extremist sect.

Amnesty International had earlier accused Major General Mohammed of killing hundreds of detainees while he was the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Maiduguri, Borno state. The human rights group in a recent report, frowned at President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the reinstatement of the alleged mass murderer.