Nigeria rights body chides army, orders compensation

At least eight young men were killed and four arrested last September when a team of secret police and soldiers stormed a half-built building in the Abuja district known as the Apo Legislative Quarters.

Nigeria rights body chides army, orders compensation

World Bulletin / News Desk

Nigeria's official rights commission on Monday accused security agencies of unlawfully killing civilians suspected of being Boko Haram insurgents, ordering that compensation be paid to the victims.

"We found that there is no credible evidence to tag those young Nigerians 'terrorists' or 'agents' for the terrorist Boko Haram organization," National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Chidi Odinkalu told Anadolu Agency.

"What happened to those harmless victims was repudiation of poverty by our security agencies," he said.

"That is not acceptable... There is no power in the law to treat any Nigerian conducting lawful livelihood as inconvenient or expendable," Odinkalu added.

At least eight young men were killed and four arrested last September when a team of secret police and soldiers stormed a half-built building in the Abuja district known as the Apo Legislative Quarters.

At the time, police said the victims were Boko Haram agents planning attacks in the area.

In an 83-page report released earlier today, the NHRC said the claims against the victims lacked credibility.

It accused security agencies of violating the Geneva Convention regarding rules of engagement, saying investigations had revealed that maximum force had been used on the civilians.

The NHRC chided security forces for being trigger happy, insisting that claims by the latter that they were acting in self-defense were "inconsistent and could not be accepted."

The use of force by security agencies was unjustifiable, the rights commission added, describing the killings as unlawful violations of the right to life.

"The report, apart from recommending financial compensation for the families of those killed and those injured, also gives the Nigerian army a two-month ultimatum to review its rules of engagement to comply with the Geneva Convention," Odinkalu said.

The NHRC later said via Twitter that a total of 185 million naira (roughly $1.1 million) had been recommended as compensation for all the incident's victims.

The report, seen by AA, recommended that the families of those killed each be given $62,500, while each person injured receive half that amount.

The report by the NHRC, which is funded by the government, is of an "advisory" nature and may well be disregarded by Nigerian security agencies.

Last Mod: 08 Nisan 2014, 09:51
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