Int’l rights group faults secret graves’ allegation

Preliminary findings of the probe of alleged secret military cemetery in the North as published by the Wall Street Journal conducted by the International Human Rights Committee on Civil/Military Relations has indicated that the media report was based on speculations and contradicted realities on ground.

Details of the report, presented to the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, Hon. John Idye, in Abuja by the head, strategic communication of IHRC, Oduma Richard Oduma, indicated that “there is no secret military cemetery, at least in the North eastern part of Nigeria to the knowledge of the committee.”

 Wall Street Journal had published a story claiming that corpses of over 1,000 soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night.

  “This allegation is not only grave and injurious to the Nigerian Army, but also to the international community and calls for deep concerns as far as human rights are involved. To this end, the international human rights commission, African Regional Head office set up an ad-hoc committee on civil/military relations to investigate the existence of such secret military cemetery and come up with her findings as appropriate.

 “This step became necessary so as to further protect the rights of citizens from abuse and also to insulate the Nigerian army from an unfair hemorrhage that such allegations, if not verified could occur,” the report read in part.

Receiving the report, Idye commended the organisation for its commitment to unearthing the facts about the allegation.

“This Honourable committee, pending the presentation of the full report, will adopt these preliminary findings for review so as to further clear the air on every and any pending anxiety and ambiguity occasioned by the wall Street Journal publication. This is just for the records as the image of our military needs to be preserved against misinformation in the future.

“The Nigerian military remains the most important institution for the preservation of the sovereignty of our nation. Allegations, therefore, of such grave proportion by international and local media need more censorship than just mere passive comments by international human rights groups and citizens and even the military authorities,” he said.

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