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FG faults Amnesty International’s report on security agencies

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Garba Shehu


• Military says it is a plot to create tension in Nigeria
• Protesters barricade agency’s office over alleged plan

The Federal Government has faulted the report by Amnesty International alleging human rights violation by Nigerian military and other security agencies. It said the report is inherently battling with credibility and falling vehemently short of evidential narration.

The Amnesty International in the report said thousands of women and girls who survived the brutal rule of the Boko Haram armed group had since been further abused by the Nigerian security forces who claim to be rescuing them.

“They betrayed us” reveals how the Nigerian military and Civilian Joint Task Force (Civilian JTF) – a militia who work alongside them – have separated women from their husbands and confined them in remote “satellite camps” where they have been raped, sometimes in exchange for food. Amnesty International has collected evidence that thousands of people have been starved to death in the camps in Borno State, North-East of Nigeria since 2015.

“It is absolutely shocking that people who had already suffered so much under Boko Haram have been condemned to further horrendous abuse by the Nigerian military.”Instead of receiving protection from the authorities, women and girls have been forced to succumb to rape in order to avoid starvation or hunger,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, among others.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday, said the report did not contain factual leads that could have laid the foundation for investigative actions.“In some breath, the report seemed like the one in 2015, and the one in 2016, and the one after that year, the same things being recycled again and again.

“It ignores the fact of the existing mechanisms put in place by the military, as a self-correcting step and the high-level committee constituted by the Presidency to examine any such claims” the statement said, among others.

However, the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Agim, said the “false report” was capable of derailing the good work being done by Nigeria’s patriotic and selfless soldiers.He accused the AI of maligning the military and painting her in bad light at any slight opportunity.

He said: “This malicious trend by AI is becoming a frequent ritual and it is rather unfortunate.  In times like this, Amnesty International is expected to apply the natural law of liaison by working with security agencies as partners.” 

Meanwhile, business activities at the AI Abuja office were yesterday temporarily disrupted as over 1,000 protesters besieged the office to protest what they described as plot to destabilise Nigeria.

The National Convener of the Civil Rights Groups, organiser of the protest, Danesi Momoh, who addressed the protesters, described such report as not only false, but maliciously targeted at destabilising Nigeria.He said the protest march was merely a rehearsal, insisting that the international agency must quit Nigeria if it fails to stop such false information.

According to him: “It is the beginning of the occupation of Amnesty International until it gets out of our country. With the tenacity the NGO has shown in its bid to destroy Nigeria, we will not pull back like we did the last time its lies made us to occupy its premises. We have had enough of its destabilising lies and we say Amnesty International must leave now!”


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