Human rights abuses: Panel invites Falana, Boko Haram lawyers | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper

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The Presidential Panel investigating alleged human rights abuses by the Armed Forces has called on Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and all lawyers representing suspected Boko Haram members detained in the Southwest to come forward to present their case before the panel.


The Chairman of the eight-man panel, Justice Biobel Goodwill of the Court of Appeal, made the call on Tuesday on the second day of the panel’s sitting at the Ikeja High Court, Lagos.

“Mr Femi Falana and other counsel should come forward with their allegations of human rights abuses.

“It is imperative that people in Southwest with allegations against the armed forces should appear before the panel,” Goodwill said.

The judge also invited interested parties to join members of the panel to a one-day fact-finding mission on Oct. 25 to the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, where alleged Boko-Haram suspects are incarcerated.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had on Aug. 11 inaugurated presidential investigation panels to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement in conflict and insurgency cases.

The panels are to sit in the six geopolitical zones and the Federal Capital Territory from Sept. 11 to Nov. 3.

The panel had during its proceedings dismissed a petition by Mr Mohammed Okorie who was accused of treason, unlawful possession of firearms and conspiring to blow up a presidential aircraft with some accomplices in 2004.

“I was wrongfully accused of being a missile importer. 76 military officers were arrested when I was also arrested.

“A military plane was sent from Nigeria to Ghana, Lome and even Ivory Coast in connection with the charges,” Okorie claimed.

Okorie through his lawyer, Mr Charles Nzeagbuna, challenged his incarceration by the military, stating that he was subjected to inhumane treatment and torture during the four years he was in custody.

However, the Army, disputed Okorie’s claims noting that he was arrested on the orders of the Department of State Security and not the military and an investigation of his case was conducted by a special panel created by the Federal Government.

Dismissing the petition, Justice Georgewill said Okorie’s petition did not fall within the terms of reference of the panel.

“The situation weaved around this panel does not apply to the charges of treason and felony.

“This situation in reality does not fall within the five terms of reference which is restricted to conflict and insurgency scenarios.

“Arrests in regards to a felony does not fall under the jurisdiction of this panel; this panel lacks the jurisdiction to entertain this case,” he ruled.

The panel also dismissed the petition of Mr Anthony Azuibike on the grounds that his petition did not also fall within its terms of reference.

Azuibike in his petition against the Nigerian Military claimed that they unlawfully evicted him from a land he had bought from an army Commandant.

The piece of land on which he had built his home was located at Peace Estate, Command Road, Ipaja, Lagos.

He claimed that the military infringed on his rights by evicting him from the property, rendering him homeless and subjecting him to torture.

Azuibike had demanded N200 million damages from the military. 

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