The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, has dismissed a report indicting soldiers of allegedly killing children in the fight against terrorism in the North-East.
Last December, Reuters in an investigative report alleged that the Nigerian military operated a secret programme, terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies of women who were freed from Boko Haram terrorists in the troubled region.
According to the report, the Nigerian military since 2013 carried out “a secret, systematic and illegal abortion program in the country’s northeast, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls” who were kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants.
The report triggered global outrage with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, calling on the Nigerian government to begin a thorough investigation and “immediate remedial actions and accountability measures.”
Speaking during a Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in the Implementation of Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East (SIIP-North East), the army chief said the Nigerian military is one of the best in the world whose operations are guided by rules in line with fundamental human rights.
“The armed forces are professional armed forces guided by rules and regulations under an elected government with the Commander in Chief and institutions that are there, we all know,” he said.
“Some people think we are on top of trees, and that’s why they are writing what they are writing, sometimes. This army is a professional army, armies’ work is universal, we have gone on courses, and there is nowhere we have gone that we have not performed. If you go to institutions in the world including the US, and the UK, you will see Nigerians there, professionals.
“We see nothing good in us, everything good in them. Whatever is done in other places we don’t ask questions, we just say it’s the US, UK,” he said while calling for further probe on Reuters.
While denying the report which also claims that the military allegedly aborted over 10,000 babies by women and girls rescued from insurgents, Yahaya accused the media platform of “acting a script” in view of the military’s dominance over Boko Haram insurgents in recent years.
He said that the areas cited in the report are heavily guarded and would require military escorts for anyone to pass through.