NHRC

NHRC panel probes military brigades, hospitals over forced abortion allegation

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The panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate alleged forced abortions on civilians by the military was in Adamawa State Friday to begin a probe of military brigades and hospitals.

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The panel which began its investigation into the matter last month was in Yola for a hearing in which members interviewed two brigade Commanders: Brigadier General Beyidi Martins who is the Commander of the 28 Taskforce Brigade in Chibok, Borno State; and Brigadier General Mohammed Gambo who is the Commander of the 23 Armoured Brigade, Yola.

Secretary of the NHRC Investigative Panel, Mr Hilary Ogbona, who posed the panel’s questions to the generals, had earlier said in his opening address that 50 such military leaders, other stakeholders and the purported victims of the alleged forced abortions had been interviewed in the investigations that began last month and had covered Borno and Yobe states.

He said the investigations would continue and the panel’s findings would be made public at the end of its sittings.

He said the panel would on Saturday visit military and civilian hospitals around Adamawa State as part of its investigative tour.

A report by the Reuters had alleged that the military had been involved in about 10,000 forced abortions since 2013.

Hilary posed questions to the generals designed to find substance or otherwise around the allegations.

In his response, General Martins said the Nigerian military is too professional to take it upon itself to force abortions on women for any reason.

Among other utterances, General Martins said the Reuters report which alleged secretive and illegal abortion programme that terminated at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls, implied that the military took upon itself the family role of deciding who gives birth and who does not, and that it is something the military could never do.

He emphasised that it was impracticable for military doctors or any health workers acting for the military to reach to and administer anything on civilians to dissolve their pregnancies.

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