FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
COMPLAINT NO. C/2013/7908/HQ
CHIDI ANSELM ODINKALU ……………………………………PRESIDING
BEM ANGWE ……………………………………………………MEMBER
SAUDATU MAHDI, MFR…………………………………………MEMBER
IN THE MATTER OF A PUBLIC INQUIRY BY THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION INTO THE ALLEGED KILLINGS OF SOME SQUATTERS IN AN UNCOMPLETED BUILDING IN GUDU/APO DISTRICT OF ABUJA, FCT IN AN ENCOUNTER INVOLVING INTERNAL SECURITY AGENCIES ON 20 SEPTEMBER 2013
AND IN RE:
1. GLOBAL RIGHTS }
2. HUMAN RIGHTS LAW SERVICE (HURI-LAWS) }
3. NASIRU ADAMU } … COMPLAINANTS
4. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF }
COMMERCIAL TRICYCLE AND }
MOTORCYCLE OWNERS AND RIDERS }
1. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA }
2. THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES } …RESPONDENTS
3. CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF }
4. ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION }
DECISION AND ORDERS OF THE COMMISSION
1. The Commission having investigated this complaint, heard all the parties and examined the relevant laws, the National Human Rights Commission, exercising its powers under Sections 5 and 6 of the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 (as amended), hereby determines and declares that:
(a) At the time of the lethal encounter giving rise to this complaint on or about September 20, 2013, there was a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) going on in north-eastern Nigeria involving the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the one hand and an organised armed group, Jama’atu ahlus sunnah lid da’awati wal jihad also known as “Boko Haram”, on the other. The theatre of active conflict extended to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
(b) With reference to the existence of a NIAC in Nigeria, the rules of international humanitarian law, including, in particular, common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, are applicable to the parties to the conflict. The rules of human rights law under the Nigerian constitution and other relevant laws supplement international humanitarian law in the theatres of conflict and remain applicable outside those theatres.
(c) There is no credible evidence to suggest or show that the victims in this case were members of JALISWAJ or involved in direct participation in hostilities. They were, therefore, protected, civilian non-combatants.
(d) The defence of self-defence asserted by the Respondents is not supported by the facts or evidence.
(e) Taking account of all the circumstances in this case, the application of lethal force was disproportionate and the killings of the eight deceased persons as well as the injuries to the eleven survivors were unlawful; and
(f) There is no basis in law for confining detainees freed by the Respondents to internal banishment.
2. In consequence, the Commission hereby orders and directs as follows:
(i) Awards the sum of ten million Naira as compensation for each of the deceased or eighty million Naira in respect of the eight deceased persons to be paid by the Government of the Federation;
(ii) Awards to each of the injured survivors, the sum of five million Naira to be paid by the Government of the Federation;
(iii) The Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is to ensure that evidence of payment of payment is lodged with the Registry of the National Human Rights Commission within thirty days of the present decision.
(iv) That the second and third Respondents are restrained from the use of administrative banishment against any of the survivors;
(v) That the Respondents shall undertake a review and harmonisation the Rules of Engagement governing the operations of security agencies to bring them into compliance with the applicable rules of international humanitarian law governing non-international armed conflicts; and further requires that the Respondents shall file a certified text of the harmonized and updated Rules of Engagement with the Secretariat of the National Human Rights Commission within two months of the present decision.
3. In accordance with section 22(1) of the National Human Rights Commission Act (as amended), the Commission shall register this report and decision for enforcement with the Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory.
GIVEN AT ABUJA THIS 7TH DAY OF APRIL, 2014.
CERIFIED TRUE COPY
PROF. BEM ANGWE