Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has demanded an apology from Amnesty International to the Nigerian military over accusations of inhuman treatment in its fight against the Boko Haram sect.
The elder statesman admitted that there might exist instances where military operations have raised human right concerns but said that the military never engages in ‘slitting of throat’ of any person whether civilian or terrorist as peddled by the international human rights group.
General Gowon was speaking at the National Defence College Course 24 inauguration lecture.
On June 3, 2015, Amnesty International released shocking videos where they claimed that more than 7,000 suspects died in military detention from torture, starvation as well as evidence of the military slitting the throats of some of the men and boys.
That accusation did not go down well with General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) as he described the accusation as unfair to the Nigerian Army.
“They are accusing the Nigerian armed forces of doing all sorts of atrocities like cutting the throat of the Boko Haram people whereas it is the Boko Haram people that were doing that exercise and I have seen many videos of what they were doing to poor innocent Nigerians in Gwoza area.
“For them (Amnesty International) to accuse Nigerian military of doing that, certainly is wrong because the Nigerian military were never trained to do that sort of exercise. It is absolutely false, wrong and they should not make such an accusation.
“They should apologise to the Nigerian military and to Nigeria,” he said.
The elder statesman also identified internal discord among security agencies, inadequate welfare and questions of indiscipline as some of the reasons why the armed forces have not completely overcome insurgency in the country.
The Federal Government, has however said that is now a forgotten issue. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry Of Defence, Ismaila Aliu, in a chat with Channels Television, expressed confidence that the military could win the war on terror within three months as mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“By all indices, we might even beat the deadline, but one thing is that information sharing is very important. Civilians need to give us information to address certain security challenges,” he said.
The Chief Of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai also shared the same optimism, describing the military’s progress within the first month as “fantastic” and an indication that the war can indeed be won in three months.