Amnesty International now makes many Nigerians to suspect, and believe, that it is working for terrorist merchants
Amnesty International recently released a damning report on the Nigerian Army in its engagement with the terrorist group, Boko Haram. Specifically, the organisation accused the Nigerian Army of highhandedness and human rights violations in its fight against the murderous terrorist group which had, according to figures released by a United States of America based United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIFR), a non-partisan federal group, killed more than 12,000 Nigerians in cold blood since 2012.
The USCIFR in its 2013 report said the 12,000 death toll was “only attacks claimed by the Boko Haram”. This indicates that the figures are certainly greater. In his last address to the United Nation Security Council in New York, then President Goodluck Jonathan put the figure at 13,000 over five years, stating: “Over the past five years, we have been, and are still confronting threats posed by Boko Haram to peace and stability…The costs are high: over 13,000 people have been killed, whole communities razed, and hundreds of persons kidnapped.”
Given Boko Haram’s strategy of unconventional attacks on soft targets, repelling them had often cost the Army the lives of its personnel. Several Army and Air Force officers, and personnel of other services including the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Immigrations Services, and Nigeria Prisons Services have been killed by Boko Haram. As expected, the security services are always secretive in releasing actual figures of its personnel lost in combat operations. Boko Haram’s unconventional style, which makes it difficult to identify and isolate its members, had also tasked the ingenuity and strength of the Nigerian military.
In the face of these, Amnesty International accuses the Nigerian Army, and by extension, the Nigerian military of gross human rights violations in the effort to secure Nigeria and make it more peaceful. We recall that based on this allegation, the Nigerian Army set up an investigation into the alleged human rights abuses.
Amnesty International was also invited to present its case with supporting evidence. Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Adamu Abubakar, explained that the essence of the invitation to the Amnesty International to be part of the investigation was to guarantee fairness and justice as well as show that the Nigerian military had nothing to hide.
Amnesty International refused to honour the invitation. Its Nigerian Researcher, Daniel Eyre defended refusal to honour the invitation. He said Amnesty International sees no need for the investigation as its allegations were convincing to it. Amnesty International insists that all it wants is that people should be investigated and if there is sufficient evidence against them, they should be tried in fair trials without use of the death penalty. To us, this stance by Amnesty International smacks of pre-convictions. Amnesty International, being an imperialist organisation, tends to seek the expansion of neo-colonist tendencies of imperialists states.
Even when this does not represent the fact, it however comes as the expression of Amnesty International’s thought. Amnesty International, in its operation, has found a fertile ground for its sort of imperialist campaign in Africa while blinding itself to the reality of human rights abuses by its paymasters in the Middle East, and everywhere else its army had stepped foot on. Amnesty International has over the years refused to see anything wrong in the refusal of the United States to sign the Rome Protocol of the International Criminal Court, despite mounting campaign by the International Criminal Court Coalition for it to submit itself to the court.
For this reason, the Coalition of Civil Society and Media Executives for Policy Stability (COCMEP), in a press statement called on “all Nigerians and members of the international community to jettison and dismiss the report by Amnesty International as a hoax and hogwash and because of its counter-productivity, controversy, bias, one-sidedness, doubtfulness, ill-motivation, exaggeration, unreliability, political undertone and blackmail”. However, this is not to dismiss entirely the need for circumspection. No doubt, stories told of soldiers running away in the face of battle against Boko Haram says a lot about the rot in our military. There is therefore the need to take a critical tour of the Nigerian military with a view to reviewing its internal systems and curb corruption.
We observe that the military-civil relationship on the streets of Nigeria has been less than civil. Even as this needs constant improving on, it however does not suggest that the life of ordinary Nigerians and soldiers is worth less than those of terrorists. By asking that Nigerian military officer who had put their lives on the line in seeking to protect the country, and lost colleagues in the process, should be investigated and punished, just to make a foreign imperialist organisation happy, is to suggest that the terrorist is protected by Amnesty international’s norms while the soldiers and the civilians, 13,000 of who had been killed in cold blood, are not.
While we encourage the Nigerian Military in using its self-cleansing mechanisms to ensure conformity to ethics and proper conduct, we also charge the Nigerian government to strengthen the war against terrorism and make sure that the push against Boko Haram, and morale-boosting measures already taken, are not dampened by Amnesty International. Amnesty International now makes many Nigerians to suspect, and believe, that it is working for terrorist merchants or those linked with terror as it steps in each time Nigeria heightens the war on terror to dampen morale, thus boosting the enemy.