Amnesty International Report On Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Amnesty International Report On Nigeria

Posted: Mar 20, 2016 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The position of Amnesty International [AI], a global human rights watch dog, on Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram terrorists is indeed disturbing. In its 2015/2016 Annual Report, AI gave a damning verdict on alleged appalling human rights situation in the country. It is as if the AI is fast losing its credibility and integrity so long as its skewed and myopic assessment of the human rights situation in the developing world is not situated in the right perspective. In the Report on Nigeria, AI condemned Nigeria’s military campaign and defence of her territorial integrity by alleging that “the military committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in its response to Boko Haram activities between 2011 and 2015.”

But the Report was silent on the bloodletting and killings which Boko Haram, a highly murderous organisation, said to be the deadliest sect now in the world, has been unleashing on the Nigerian State and citizenry.The insurgents have killed over 10,000 people, rendered millions homeless, as well as destroyed property worth billions of Naira. Members of the sect are on the prowl, employing mainly sporadic attacks and suicide bombings at soft targets and public places.

AI seems to be losing sight of the national security challenges faced by sovereign nations as well as derailing from its guiding principles. One of the organisation’s principles is that “AI neither supports nor condemns a government policy of using military force in fighting armed opposition movements, when an opposition group tortures or kills captives, takes hostages, or commits deliberate and arbitrary killings.” Are these and more, not what Boko Haram has visited on the Nigerian State especially since 2011?

For AI to only showcase extra-judicial killings, extortion, arbitrary and prolonged detention of Boko Haram suspects at the detriment of all other serious human rights issues in Nigeria, manifests the level of bias and prejudice, which the organisation has allowed itself to sink into. The Nigeria’s military war against insurgency and the Boko Haram propaganda is a peculiar one which AI needs to regard as a battle for the survival of the country and her people. It is improper to reflect only the side of the Boko Haram insurgents as if they are being persuaded the more to embark on more maiming and killing of Nigerian citizens. The aggressors should not be made to look like the victims. Terrorists and terrorism should be condemned unequivocally by all well-meaning state and non-state actors.

There is no doubt that international law and norms require that Nigeria and Nigerians avoid every form of man’s inhumanity to man, especially in line with democratic tenets. Incessant cases of police brutality, state-induced violence on the citizens, illegal detentions, impurity by security officials and a failed criminal justice system, among others need to be tackled.

AI should not make Nigerians to suspect that it probably has an alliance with Boko Haram based on its unbalanced report. For instance, to describe Nigerian Army Generals in its 2015 Report as “men with stars on their shoulders and blood on their hands,”  alleging that more than 700 young men died in military detention while more than 1,200 people were unlawfully killed since 2011,” perhaps represents an unwarranted attack on the country by a supposedly Western-propelled non-state actor. We therefore call on AI to live by its founding principles, namely; “human rights for all,” “better to light the candle than cause darkness,” “independence of any political ideology, economic interest or religion” and “exposing the facts whenever and wherever abuses happen”.

The AI should not derail from its vision and mission with half-baked facts and hasty conclusions. Although, it is said that there is no absolute objectivity, the AI has been known before now, for its courage and acceptable objectivity of issues or human rights.

We demand proper and unbiased assessment of the Nigerian situation from AI; otherwise, it should close its eyes not only on Nigeria but other developing world.