The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday said history had taught him that the failure of the nation’s justice system to respond adequately to crisis is a major factor leading to greater conflict.
Osinbajo said this while inaugurating a Presidential Investigation Panel to Review the Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said it was a known fact that the conduct of the nation’s defence and security forces during the insurgency in the North East and militancy in the Niger Delta had in recent times attracted significant commendation.
He recalled that at the inception of the present administration, seven local government areas were under the control of Boko Haram while virtually all of them have now been recovered by security forces.
He also noted that the Armed Forces have fought against militants in other areas of the country; in some cases to protect critical national infrastructure and natural resources.
The Acting President said the nature of asymmetric or unconventional warfare that they have had to contend with presented unique challenges that most modern armies are ill-equipped to tackle with conventional warfare tactics.
He said, “Indeed, conventional human right norms and conventional human rights observers are challenged by some of the various nuances of asymmetric warfare.
“Nonetheless, there have been a series of allegations levied against security forces by some local and international commentators.
“It is our belief, that if left unaddressed, these allegations are capable of undermining the good work of the men and women of the Armed Forces who have largely conducted themselves in a disciplined and professional manner.
“Failure to examine some of these allegations will also leave those who may have been victims of such abuses without any recourse to justice.
“And if history has taught us anything, it is that the failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis is usually a recipe for greater conflict.”
Osinbajo said for the Federal Government, respect for the lives of Nigerians was not just a constitutional but also a moral duty.
This, he said, was why it was incumbent upon the government as it maintains security especially in conflict situations to regularly interrogate alleged crimes and human rights abuses by all sides in the conflicts and insurgencies.