Global watchdog, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has cautioned the federal government’s Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North against granting amnesty to members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, who have committed serious human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings.
Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Committee and the Minister of Special Duties, Senator Saminu Turaki, Tuesday clarified that the committee had neither made payment or decided on any mode of compensation for the victims of Boko Haram terrorist attacks.
However, HRW warned the committee not to overlook such serious crimes committed either by members of the sect or government’s security forces.
In a statement by its Africa Director, Daniel Bekele, yesterday, HRW said its 2012 report found out that “Boko Haram’s attacks, including the murder of civilians and the persecution of Christians, likely amount to crimes against humanity under international law.”
The group, which said it had expressed its stand on the issue to the committee through a letter, added that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced in 2010 that it had opened a preliminary examination of the situation in Nigeria.
The human rights watchdog stated that in November 2012, the ICC office concluded that there was “reasonable basis to believe” that Boko Haram had committed crimes against humanity, adding that the preliminary examination may or may not lead to an ICC investigation.
Meanwhile, Turaki in a text message to THISDAY enquiries about some reports that the committee has started making payments to some people affected by the crises, said: “We are not making any payment to any body please. We are just to identify the different classes of victims that need to be supported by government and make appropriate recommendations.”
“It will then be left for government, after setting up a white paper committee, to determine which recommendations to accept, and how to implement them,” he added.
Turaki noted that federal government may even decide to constitute another committee to do the implementation, “or ask us to do so.”
“Its absolutely at its discretion. So no payment is currently being made for anything by our committee now,” he repeated.
However, there is information that, federal government had modified the use of ‘Compensation’ for the victims of Boko Haram terrorist attacks to ‘Victims Support Programme’ to avoid technicalities that would incur unsustainable financial obligation.