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COLUMNIST, Omnipossibilities

Amnesty International And Nigerian Military

Posted: Jun 26, 2015 at 3:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The new front of hostilities against the Nigerian Military by two global bodies, the United Nations and Amnesty International suggests that the West has not given up on attempting to set the country on fire in 2015. It was their hope that the country’s recent poll would do the job of fulfilling a doomsday prophecy. We disappointed them when contrary to all expectations the politicians did not trigger bloody street wars for or against the outcome of the ballot.

As President Muhammadu Buhari has often said at every forum-local and international- since coming into office, that singular act of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to concede defeat through a phone call did the trick. It nipped violence in the bud. It aborted the plans of those who had assembled the drums of war and bloodshed. It paralysed men and women of violence who were waiting for Jonathan to denounce the election results and then work towards announcing ones favouring him.

The stargazers said the elements had revealed to them that mayhem would follow the 2015 ballot and lead to a conflagration worse than what we witnessed in the 1967-70 Civil War. According to them, Nigeria would break up, violently, with unimaginable and disastrous consequences for its citizens and Africa.  Such was the belief of these prophets of doom in their own prophecy that the United States of America reportedly deployed military aircraft and ships to neighbouring states to standby to evacuate its citizens in Nigeria in the event of an outbreak of hostilities! We thank God for Goodluck Jonathan; we didn’t come to that pass.
But we must not drop our guard. There is still a high conspiracy to malign the military that gallantly fought off the destructive forces of Boko Haram which also wanted to exploit the elections to bring to pass the forecast of the West. The Military dislodged the insurgents and enabled voting to take place in the North East of Nigeria. Now there is a subtle agenda by Amnesty International (AI) to discredit and cripple the military’s integrity and move Buhari to clash with his old constituency.
According to a report by AI, the Nigeria Military has grossly breached the International rules of war in the fight against the terrorists in Nigeria. Although AI charged all the troops with professional misconduct, it referred specifically to some former and serving chiefs of the Nigerian Armed Forces as the main culprits. AI says the crimes were perpetrated between 2011 and 2014 by the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff.
Early in June 2015, the United Nations brought forth similar accusations against the Military. A top UN human rights official Zeid Al-Hussein said he had received reports of “violations of human rights committed by the military in the course of fighting the sect” (Boko Haram). He said: “Civilians in North-East Nigeria have been living through horrifying acts of cruelty and violence by Boko Haram. These include wanton killings, summary executions, forced participation in military operations – Including rape.”

Both AI and the UN have urged Buhari to prosecute the military. They also want the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, The Netherlands to investigate some Nigerians among them serving ex-military officers.
But the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade has dismissed AI’s allegations, saying it smacks of “bias”. He says that the Defence Headquarters had “thoroughly responded to each of the previous allegations made by AI”. He accused Amnesty of taking a “premeditated position which is far from noble.” The urbane Olukolade believes AI is out “to discredit the military by seeking all avenues to stigmatize individual officers purely to satisfy and agenda against the security agencies and image of Nigeria before the International Community.”
Several other Nigerians don’t see it otherwise. It is the reason Mr. Tony Uranta, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian National Summit Group (NNSG) says AI’s ploy is “ to so stir discontent within the ranks of the Nigerian Military and thus fast-track the long-obvious agenda of certain Western powers to jeopardize the war against Boko Haram as prelude to expediting system collapse.”

As I said earlier, we must understand the real mission of the new war on the military by some organs of the Western hemisphere. It is to uphold and push into reality the forlorn apocalyptic view of Nigeria.
While Buhari may undertake an independent investigation into the claims of so called human rights abuses by the military, I urge him to put the unity, stability and security of the nation into utmost consideration. He should ponder over why AI is making the charges at the same time that the G7 nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are rushing to Nigeria to offer socially destructive descriptions on the economy.

The point about human rights violations in war especially when battling terrorists as our armed forces are doing at the moment is that it is extremely difficult to go by the books when your enemy is not doing so. When one party is alien to the rules of engagement you find yourself in grave struggles to survive as you try to abide by the rules as a professional. Of course it is not an excuse for war crimes or flagrant abuse of rights during a war.
The United States and other Western Countries which have been most vocal in criticizing our military in the war against Boko Haram perfectly understands the dynamics of a conventional army battling terrorists at the war front. So to protect its citizens from prosecution, they have reframed from subscribing to the ICC jurisdiction on war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Let the naysayers stay away from our troops. These young boys and girls fought to keep us one.  They are still playing the role creditably.

Let them be, please!