…Seeks More UN Support For Joint Multinational Forces Tackling Insurgents In North-east
BEVERLY HILLS, March 04, (THEWILL) – The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), Tuesday, said about 1,650,000 persons had been displaced by the four-year-old Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
The Minister made this disclosure while speaking at the high-level segment of the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said Nigeria chose to return to the Human Rights Council because of her strong belief that she can contribute her quota to on-going efforts to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights across the globe.
“We note with concern the prevailing global challenges arising from wars, armed conflicts, increased terrorist activities, insurgencies, violent religious propagations all of which have culminated in increased threat to global peace and security and fundamental human rights and freedoms.
“It has become obvious that enduring solutions to these conflicts can only be achieved by concerted global initiatives and actions that emphasise the shared responsibility of Member States,” he said.
According to the Minister, “Nigeria’s experience in combating terrorism and insurgency perpetrated by the Boko Haram Sect in North-Eastern Nigeria and our common borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon, clearly demonstrates the relevance and potency of international cooperation and solidarity in tackling this scourge.”
He disclosed that “Since the insurgency began, close to 650,000 Nigerians have been internally displaced in the North Eastern part of Nigeria; and another one million, as refugees in neighbouring countries of Cameroun, Chad and Niger.”
He added that “This situation has posed grave humanitarian situations in the affected areas, including the neighbouring countries.”
Adoke however noted with satisfaction the recent successes achieved by security forces and the increased level of cooperation at regional and sub-regional level to raise a multi-national force of 8,700 involving Chad, Niger, Cameroun and Benin by the African Union, with support from the country’s global partners.
“ My delegation believes that this initiative offers valuable lessons for the global community,” he added , even as he stressed the need for increased financial and material support for the multi-national force as well as the internally displaced persons and refugees.
While noting a disturbing trend in the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group, which according to him, is the increasing use of child soldiers and under-aged female suicide bombers in the perpetration of heinous crimes against civilian populations, Adoke lamented that “ Boko Haram has killed Christians and Muslims; bombed churches and mosques and have detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on soft targets in civilian populated areas.”
He also recalled how on January 21, he issued an Advisory to the Boko Haram terrorist group and all those involved in the conflict on the legal consequences of the unlawful use of children in armed conflict and Government’s determination to hold accountable, all those found culpable for this crime and other crimes such as abduction, rape, maiming, forced displacements and sexual slavery.
“This is consistent with our treaty obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional Protocols,” the minister said.
Speaking further, he said: “As this 28th Session of the Council commences, my delegation recalls the successes achieved over the years through international collaboration within the United Nations system in such fields as human trafficking, migration issues, prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the protection of the environment among others.
“We are convinced that there is a need to intensify current initiatives in these and other fields and pledge our support to the Council in this direction.
“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to the work of this Council and to celebrate the excellent relationship we have maintained with it thus far. My country recalls the constructive recommendations made by member States during our Second Report under the Universal Periodic Review in October 2013 and assures the Council of our on-going efforts to address these issues.
“We shall continue to cooperate with the special mechanisms established by the Human Rights Council. In particular, we welcome the support being provided by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights towards the development of Action Plans for implementation.”
“At domestic level, the Federal Government continues to pursue human rights based model of governance that emphasises respect for the Rule of Law and the dignity of all residents of Nigeria. Consistent with this approach, we are vigorously pursuing strengthening of the capacity of relevant Human Rights Institutions in the country. In addition, we are promoting increased collaboration with Civil Society Organizations in various facets of the polity.”
“As the world moves towards the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Nigeria remains committed to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and is working assiduously towards attaining those goals.”
“Let me assure this Council that as Nigeria prepares for the General Elections scheduled to commence on 28th March 2015, we are convinced that entrenching democratic governance in Nigeria remains the best guarantee for peace and stability in our region and beyond.”
“The Electoral Body rescheduled the election dates to enable adequate security to be provided and ensure that about 24 million potential voters who had not received their permanent voters’ cards were not disenfranchised.”
“Finally, Mr. President, Nigeria appreciates the nexus between human rights promotion and protection to the establishment of peaceful and prosperous societies, as well as, the realisation of global peace and stability, and remains irrevocably committed to these ideals, both at international and domestic levels.”
“The strengthening of global human rights regime requires an expanded level of experience sharing and responsibilities by all global partners.”
“This Council, in our view, is eminently positioned by its mandate to lead and coordinate our efforts to attain this desired objective.”