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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has reiterated the obligation of the federal government to protect the lives of both the military personnel and other citizens under its jurisdiction from attacks by armed groups.

The Chairperson Governing Council of the Commission, Dr. Salamatu Suleiman who stated this in Abuja at a Colloquium on Human Rights in Counter Insurgency Operation in Nigeria observed the protection of lives of military personnel and citizens is imperative given the increased insurgency and counter-insurgency operations in some parts of the country.

Speaking during her opening statement at the colloquium organized by the NHRC in partnership with Center for Democracy and Development, with the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Chairperson regretted that both the military and other citizens have been known to suffer constant human rights violations in some part of the country.

These violations, she noted, include the right to life, the right to freedom of movement, torture, extra judicial executions, inhuman and degrading treatments, and others.

Despite the above challenges, the Chairperson stated that all hope is not lost given the commitment of the leadership of the Commission to partner with relevant bodies to deliver on its statutory mandate of promoting and protecting, and enforcing human rights in Nigeria.

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN) said the colloquium is coming at a time when insurgency, banditry, and separatist agitations continue to unleash violence on Nigeria.

The Chief Custodian of Human Rights in Nigeria, therefore, lauded Centre for Democracy and Development (CDC) and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for the partnership in organising the colloquium which is an opportunity for stakeholders to brainstorm on how best to mainstream human rights principles in counter-insurgency operations in the country.

According to Ojukwu, the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East has led to the loss of over 350,000 lives and the displacement of more than 2 million people from across the region and other parts of Nigeria and neighbouring countries.