Human Rights Watch, HRW, has urged the in-coming president, Mr. Mohammadu Buhari to investigate and prosecute people or institutions that have been implicated in serious human rights abuses in the last 16 years of civil rule in the country.
The country researcher at Human Rights Watch Abuja, Mr. Mausi Segun said this in a statement, tagged “New president should address abuses” a copy of which was made available to Hallmark Newspaper on Wednesday.
According to him, the institutions should include the police and Armed Forces whose members have involved in the various human rights abuses since inception of civil rule.
He said, “The incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari, should take immediate and concrete steps to address large-scale violence, endemic corruption, a lack of accountability for abuses, and other pressing human rights problems when he assumes office.”
Segun noted that Human Rights Watch would expect Buhari to end the cycle of violence and take bold action to ensure the judiciary investigates and prosecutes anyone implicated in serious human rights abuses, whether Boko Haram fighters or the military and police.
“Buhari should start a new chapter in the northeast, and ensure that Nigerian security forces respect domestic law, human rights, and international humanitarian law in all their operations,” he stated. HRW observed that Nigerian authorities had rarely prosecuted those responsible, including the police or military who had been implicated in serious abuses, adding, “On May 2, 2015, security forces killed at least 28 people when they attacked the Langtang and Wase communities following the killings of six soldiers a few days earlier up till now nothing has been done to prosecute the soldiers.” HRW also noted that the authorities had also failed to address the root causes of inter-communal violence, which include state and local government policies that exacerbate divisions by discriminating against members of ethnic groups they classify as “non-indigenes”.
While calling on Buhari government to work on the divisive state and local government policies that discriminate against “non-indigenes,” Human Rights Watch said urged the new administration to sponsor legislation to expressly bar all federal, state, and local government institutions from unlawful discrimination against “non-indigenes.” On corruption, Human Rights Watch suggested that the scourge should be fought from public office, as it called for the removal of immunity clause that protects the president and governors from criminal investigation and prosecution. “The new administration should take immediate steps to strengthen oversight and watchdog institutions such as the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to permit them to function without interference or partiality,” he stated.