The Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter-Insurgency Operations in North East Nigeria (SIIP-North) has resumed sitting in its bid to unravel the truth of the allegation of mass abortion of babies against the Nigerian Army.
In December 2022, Reuters published a report which accused the Nigerian military of various forms of human rights violations, including abortion of babies of suspected terrorists.
THE WHISTLER reports that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) inaugurated the panel to investigate the military’s alleged abortion of about 10,000 babies of Boko Haram victims within the space of nine years since 2003.
Since the panel was inaugurated, several generals in the army have appeared before it to answer questions.
They include the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division Maiduguri, Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, and the former Chief of Army Staff, General Y. Yahaya, as well as former Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor.
All the military officers denied the Reuters report in its entirety.
The panel last sat on May 12 in Abuja.
A statement issued by NHRC Director of Corporate Affairs and External Linkages Department, Agharese Arase, and made available to THE WHISTLER on Saturday, said the panel resumed its 7th sitting in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
This time, the panel will be embarking on a fact-finding mission to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).
“The Chairman of the panel, Justice Abdu Aboki (rtd) said it has become necessary for the panel to visit the medical facility to seek the support needed in conducting further investigations into the alleged human rights violations mentioned in the Reuters report.
“The eminent Jurist said although the medical facility was not categorically mentioned in the Reuters 4- part reports, it became expedient to conduct an investigation in the facility, being a Referral Centre where most of the secondary healthcare cases are brought,” the statement partly reads.
The Secretary of the panel, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna, told the CMD of UMTH, Prof. Ahmed Ahijo, that it was imperative to interact with him to obtain important information that may be needed to ascertain the truth in the Reuter’s report.
The statement reads, “Against this backdrop, Mr. Ogbonna said the panel will be fielding questions to the CMD, HOD obstetrics and gynaecology, HOD Pharmacy, HOD Nursing Services, and HOD Histopathology in other to be in sync with what the panel did at the Secondary medical facilities in the State, which are Borno State Specialist Hospital and Umaru Shehu Ultra-Modern Hospital, all in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“On his part the CMD of UMTH Prof. Ahmed Ahijo expressed the readiness of himself and his team to cooperate with the Panel as it conducts its investigations.”