The Senate, yesterday, moved to set up an adhoc committee to probe Amnesty International’s reports of rape, torture and starvation of women by military personnel in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp in the North-East. This was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent public importance promoted by Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), who called attention to the need to critically take a position on the revelations contained in the report.
Coming under order 42 of the Senate standing rules, the lawmaker presented a copy of the report as compiled by Amnesty International, saying the Senate had an obligation to safeguard the nation’s integrity and image before the international community.
Sani lamented that many of the women allegedly abused and tortured by military personnel were those who survived or escaped Boko Haram attacks, only to end up being raped and tortured by those who should have protected and secured them.
He said: “This report is damning and indicting, and has been presented globally and has the capacity to ridicule and present the Nigerian nation in a very bad light.
“As an institution, we have a duty to protect human rights. Amnesty international report contains all that we need to ask questions as to how this war is being prosecuted.
“There’s that moral duty for us as a democracy to demand explanations if such gory tales are told in connection with activities of our security personnel.The same personnel who have been sacrificing their lives to protect the integrity and lives of Nigerians, and for which we remain eternally grateful.”
Contributing to the matter, Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, from Kebbi, called for a careful look into the report.
He said: “The nature and character of what we are dealing with in Nigeria makes it practically impossible not to have this kinds of scenarios. And it’s mainly due to the fact that the enemies are not openly known as they have gone by different names and nomenclature, such as Boko Haram and insurgents.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided, called for a careful analysis and investigation of the report before a legislative position could be taken on it.
Saraki said the report should not be looked at purely from a human rights point of view, adding that an adhoc committee would be best suited to carry out the task of investigating the issues at stake.