A top military general in the Nigerian Army has told the Special Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations in the North East that victims of human rights violation should come forward to testify to the allegations that soldiers were strangling babies in the region.
Recall that the 7- member panel chaired by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Abdu Aboki was on February 7, 2023 established by the National Human Rights Commission to probe a 3-part report by foreign media Reuters which alleged that operatives in the northeast also aborted over 10,000 babies, in the last five years of fighting terrorists.
The Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor had dismissed the Reuters allegations as ” nonsense” but later accepted that a panel be set up by the NHRC so as to ascertain the claims in the Reuters report.
Since it began operation, the panel has heard testimonies of different military personnel (serving and retired), top officials of Borno state government hospitals, and state ministries with all denying the Reuters report.
On Thursday, former Brigade Commander, 37 Artillery Brigade Maiduguri, Major General Olusegun Gabriel Adeniyi appeared before the panel in Abuja to further debunk the allegations by the media platform.
Adeniyi maintained that the federal government encourages the military to go through soft approaches like building boreholes, teaching children, etc, adding that soldiers have children also.
When asked by the panel to confirm or deny the Reuters report which also alleged that some officers strangled babies as well as administered substances to the children of two women leading to their death, he said that cannot be true.
Adeniyi also said the women in question should come forward and testify.
“It is very easy to know those responsible. The two women should come out and tell where it happened. Let them just tell us the year. We have the name of the Commander, RSM, within one of them, all of them will remember this thing if it is true.
“Let these people come out, let them tell us the place, the year, the month.
“If it is so, how come so many wounded Boko Haram fighters, not even children, fighters that have killed people are recovering from the illness in the various hospitals in the North East? If you go to our hospitals, these people are there, being treated.
“These things are not as presented by Reuters, I do not say we are perfect or illegality may not be taken place. But I know, if anybody commits a war crime or is alleged to have committed a war crime, within the Theatre, he will be investigated, court-martialed, and tried,” Adeniyi added.