‘Mass Abortion’: Does Reuters Report Anything Good About Nigeria? — Army General Rails At NHRC Panel During Interrogation
Brigadier General A. Haruna speaking to the NHRC panel investigating alleged abortion in North East by soldiers
At the ongoing special independent investigative panel on human rights violations in counter insurgency operations in the north east (SIIP-NE) in Abuja, Brigadier General Abubakar Garba Haruna could not control his emotions at some point during his testimony.
The National Human Rights Commission inaugurated the panel after a Reuters report which accused military operatives of aborting about 10,000 babies of Boko Haram victims within the space of nine years since 2003.
THE WHISTLER reports that several generals have appeared before the Panel including the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division Maiduguri, Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf and the Chief of Army Staff, General Y. Yahaya.
They have all denied allegations in the Reuters four-part investigation.
On Friday, Haruna was asked by the counsel to the panel, Hillary Ogbonna, to respond to the allegations that about 8 soldiers transported about 7,000 women in batches to a location where their babies were aborted.
The general became visibly angry and stood up on his feet, saying, “look, they should not discourage us from fighting this war (against insurgency). They will sit down somewhere, look at the name, Reuters, have they ever reported anything good about Nigeria?” the general asked.
Ogbonna, who doubles as the human rights adviser to the NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, had to seek protection for members of the panel in view of how the general was reacting to his questions.
The panel led by Rtd Justice Abdu Aboki subsequently encouraged the general to be calm and respond to the questions put forward to him.
Haruna told the panel that the army did not care to know who was pregnant among those rescued, adding “we were concerned about who wanted to attack.”
He said those rescued are given the best protection.
Ogbonna mentioned some instances in the Reuters report but said they were in light of the news website’s investigation but Haruna interjected asking why the Commission collected the report and chose to investigate it.
When Ogbonna made reference to some of the victims whose real names were withheld, Haruna interjected, saying “why did you collect their report. Why did they not use real names?
The general insisted that allegations in the Reuters report “sincerely” did not happen.
Haruna further stated that a Reuters report which claimed that Nigerian military carried out “Operation No Living thing” in the north east region was false because the operation actually took place in Sierra Leone.