Amnesty International has called on the federal government to release the report of a presidential panel which investigated alleged human rights abuses committed by the military.
Osai Ojigho, the organisation’s country director, said the failure to release the report three years after it was submitted to the presidency is a setback for the rule of law.
The international rights watchdog and other organisations had indicted the military of abuses under Nigerian and international laws in the course of its operations.
Following the indictment, in August 2017, the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo set up a presidential panel to probe the matter and review the military’s compliance human rights obligations.
But no major action has been taken about the issue since then.
In a statement on Friday, Amnesty International asked the government to immediately release the report to ensure justice for victims of such violations.
Ojigho said: “The failure of Nigerian authorities to release the report of the Presidential Panel that purportedly investigated compliance of armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement, three years after the report was submitted to the President is a gross display of contempt for victims.
“Many Nigerians showed incredible courage to testify to the panel, in the hope that, at the end it will lead to justice. But three years is so long and too long for victims to continue waiting for the release of the panel’s report; which is a key step to justice for victims.
“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfill the promise he made in 2015 to end impunity by immediately releasing the report. Victims and the larger public in Nigeria deserve to see and scrutinize the findings.
“Previous such investigations have ended up without any tangible outcome on the side of justice. Nigerian authorities have the duty to ensure that the country’s security forces comply with international law obligations and ensure prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all allegations of violations.
“Failure to disclose the report of the panel, an important first step towards justice, is a shameful betrayal of these victims and another marker of the lack of political will by Nigerian authorities to bring alleged perpetrators to justice.
“It is an abysmal failure, a devastating setback for rule of law that only perpetuates the culture of impunity which so pervasive in Nigeria.”