Biafra Killings: U.S. Government Rejects Nigerian Military Panel Report (RN)


Nigerian Defence Headquarters


The panel set up by the Nigerian army to investigate allegations of human right abuse levelled against some of its personnel on Friday said the US expressed dissatisfaction with its first report.
Nuhu Angbazo, chief of military/civil affairs, disclosed this during a press conference at the army headquarters on Friday.

Angbazo said based on the reaction of the US authorities, a special panel was set up to probe the allegations.

“Army headquarters conducted an investigation and disseminated the report to all relevant authorities, including the USA authority through the DA Washington,” he said.

“The USA, however, conveyed dissatisfaction with the report and requested that a more comprehensive inquiry be conducted. Thus a special BOI was constituted to investigate the allegations.”

The panel had been set up to investigate alleged human rights abuse levelled against the military by Amnesty International (AI).

In a report released earlier in the week, the panel had said the army was not guilty of the accusations but AI faulted the report, saying it was not thorough and also not independent.

However, Angbazo said findings of the panel showed how the process of investigating the detainees could be affected due to an inadequate number of investigators in the camps.

The panel’s report also revealed a small number of military police officers in charge of the detention camps in comparison with a large number of detainees.

“For example, at the Giwa Barracks detention facility, there was only one investigator allocated to a Boko Haram suspect,” the panel stated.

“We note that this limits the capability to extract max info from the suspects. Furthermore, this is contrary to the global best practice of using a team of investigators including those from other relevant agencies to interrogate a suspect to determine culpability or otherwise.

“The board was concerned about the inmate to military police ratio especially in Giwa Barracks Detention facility, which holds high-profile inmates.

“The small number of handlers does not allow for relief of duties. This could result in fatigue or stress with predictable effects on the appropriate handling of detainees.”

It further noted that at the Giwa Barracks also, “there were 3,824 detainees… with 29 handlers monitoring the detention facility.”

The board also found out that a common feature evident in all the detention camps was the delay in the legal processing and trial of the detainees even as they were usually not allowed access to legal representation.

It regretted that releasing the detainees that had been cleared as having no case to answer is usually difficult due to lack of synergy between relevant agencies

“We note that this lack of coordination led to duplication of efforts which further compounded the congestion problem in these detention facilities,” the report further read.

On the alleged killing of some members of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), the board noted that contrary to the allegations, key parties it met on the issue said there were no reports of such killings.

“The board interacted with the Anambra state governor, commissioner of police, state director of Department of State Service and some residents,” it added.

“They testified that no one was killed during the incident at Onitsha bridgehead. However, the police report showed that 14 people were arrested on the day.” (DailyTimesNg)

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