NIGERIA’S presidency has launched a scathing attack on human rights body Amnesty International saying it is siding with terrorists operating in Nigeria and has no legal right to exist within the country.
Amnesty International’s report had criticised Nigerian security forces’ attempts to clamp down on Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), arbitrary arrests, detentions, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in the southeast and Niger Delta. In addition, it also listed some other cases of enforced disappearance across the country.
Speaking in response to the report asking the Nigerian government to end enforced disappearances in the country, presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu, accused the group of promoting those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria. He added that championing the cause of Nnamdi Kanu and Ipob, Amnesty International seeks to legitimise its cause to Western audiences.
In the past, the Nigerian Army, military, information ministry and other government bodies have at various times made statements attacking Amnesty International. Not holding back, Mallam Shehu laid into the human rights group again saying that once again, they have decided to side with terrorists before the liberty of those they injure, displace and murder.
Mallam Shehu added: “Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and Ipob, a proscribed terror organisation, they work to legitimise its cause to Western audiences, which puts them in bad company. Controversial American lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the same, laundering Ipob’s reputation in Washington DC.
“Ipob murders Nigerian citizens, they kill police officers and military personnel and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country and were this group in a western country, you would not expect to hear Amnesty’s full-throated defence of their actions.
“Instead, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justification of western governments’ action to check the spread of terrorism. Despite Amnesty’s self-proclaimed mandate to impartially transcend borders, unfortunately in Nigeria they play only domestic politics.
“Amnesty International has no legal right to exist in Nigeria. It must open a formal investigation into the personnel that occupy their Nigerian offices and they should reject the outrageously tendentious misinformation they receive and bring some semblance of due diligence to the sources they base their claims on.”
He pointed out that the Nigerian government will fight terrorism with all the means at its disposal and will ignore Amnesty International’s rantings. Mallam Shehu accused Amnesty International of not holding itself to the same standards it demands of others.