Borno is not a war zone, says Commissioner for Justice

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Abuja.

The Attorney-General (A-G)  of Borno, Mrs Hauwa Abubakar, says the state is not a war zone contrary to insinuations in some quarters.

Abubakar made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the sideline of the 4th Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) National Validation Conference in Abuja.

She stressed that contrary to a media report that there was escalation of Boko Haram atrocities in Borno lately, the state had been peaceful.

She said though there were challenges inhibiting against tackling the issues of human right abuse in the country, the state government was not resting on its oars.

“The state government is up to it to tackle all the issues.

“For instance, there was a recent news by one of the newspapers reporting an incidence of escalation of Boko Haram atrocities (in Borno).

“But the truth is that Borno has been peaceful. Of course, we are still in the insurgency, it hasn’t stopped.

“So it is inevitable for us to hear one or two attacks here and there,” she said.

The A-G recalled that few years back, there were lots of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri camps but that the state government had been able to relocate many of the IDPs back to their communities while some of the IDP camps had been closed down.

“That’s to tell you that we are on top of it and all that we need is support, especially from the media, to show the effort the state government is doing in tackling all these issues because Borno State is not a war zone as a lot of people think,” she said.

She said the government was making effort to uphold the rule of law, especially the provision of Chapter 4 of the constitution about fundamental human rights, in its effort to bring back peace to the state.

According to her, the Borno State government is making a lot of efforts; a lot of bills were passed into laws in upholding rule of law, human rights protection, to make Borno better.

“The policy of His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Zulum, is to see that all the victims of Boko Haram Have been treated fairly, rehabilitated and resettled back into the communities.

“We are doing so much and doing it so well notwithstanding what we have gone through.

“Borno State is coming out better and stronger out if it,” she said.

She said kinetic approach to war against Boko Haram by Gov. Babagana Zulum-led government had yielded results and stil yielding results for the state.

“The insurgents will come out and surrender and there is an entry point where they are being received.

“When they are received, we have a rehabilitation centre for them to be rehabilitated.

“Their welfare is being taken care of and I think that is a great effort by Borno State  government in rehabilitating them and making sure that they don’t go back to that criminalities again,” she said.

Earlier, Mr Abdulraman Yakubu, Director of Civil and Political Rights, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said the essence of the event was for Nigeria to comply with UN guidelines by preparing its national report to the UN Human Rights Council under the mechanism of UPR.

Yakubu, who was also the Co-Secretary of Inter-Ministerial Committee on UPR, said the guideline was that any country being reviewed and preparing its report must consult widely and broadly.

“Today, we are having a larger gathering of stakeholders coming from across the country to validate the draft report that has been prepared by the committee and the consultants,” he said

The Lead Consultant, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, SAN, said UPR was about peer review mechanism where members state of UN judge other state members on their human rights records

Ezeilo, who was former UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, said Nigeria had done well on issues of human rights in some areas and regressed in others.

“But it is a constant continued process. That is why this is important,” she said.

NAN reports that the UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Members States.

The Abuja meeting was to help to contribute to Nigeria’s ability to develop an objective and Independent report on the efforts to promote and protect human rights in compliance with international obligations.

Nigeria was reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2009, 2013 and 2018 during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd UPR Cycles respectively, and preparations have been ongoing for Nigeria’s 4th review scheduled between January and February 2024

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