Presidency, Army battle Amnesty Int’l

Malam Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari
Malam Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

“In times like this, Amnesty International is expected to apply the natural law of liaison by working with security agencies as partners.

“This would have been the best way to ensure that insurgency and crisis are completely wiped off rather than engaging in falsehood, maligning the military and painting her in bad light at any slight opportunity.”

The military assured Nigerians that it remained committed to abiding by all human rights regulations endorsed by the country and carry out its constitutional role.

It, however, called on Amnesty to “desist from cooking reports from time to time to demoralise the entire military system and nation as a whole”.

Stressing that troops are sacrificing their lives in the fight against Boko Haram and other enemies of the country, the military called for an end to reports it described as fictitious.

“These false reports which are capable of derailing the good work being done by our patriotic and selfless soldiers must stop,” it said.

In March, while denying the claim by AI that the military failed to take action to stop the abduction of over 100 school girls from Dapchi, Brigadier General Agim had accused the human rights organisation of lacking credibility in its operations in Nigeria.

Agim called on the organisation to carry out its activities with credibility.

“We are not in any way implying that AI should not do their job, but such must be done with a level of integrity and credibility by seeking clarification when the need arises,” he said.

“This way a lot will be achieved as both will form partners in the fight against extremism and other vices.”

Amnesty International has yet to react to the statements by the military and presidency but had in the past alleged that the military was involved in extra-judicial killings, rape, and spurns human rights.

In its 2017/2018 Hum an Rights report, it said the Nigerian security forces carried out widespread human rights abuses such as extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, mass detention in sub-human facilities, attacks on the media and journalists, violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, and forced evictions.

The report condemned the military for its “total disregard” for human rights in its execution of the war against violent Islamist group Boko Haram.

“The Nigerian Army carried out, “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, and torture and other ill-treatment, which, in some cases, led to deaths in custody.”

It said that the condition of the military detention facilities in the North-east and other parts of the country was harsh, and children were detained unlawfully alongside their parents in these centres.

“Detainees were denied access to lawyers and family members. The army released 593 detainees in April and 760 in October. By April, the military detention facility at Giwa barracks, Maiduguri, held more than 4,900 people in extremely over-crowded cells.

“Disease, dehydration and starvation were rife and at least 340 detainees died. At least, 200 children, as young as four, were detained in the overcrowded and unhygienic children’s cell. Some children were born in detention,” the report said.

Similarly, the report also alleged that soldiers killed 10 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Umuahia and injured 12 others on September 14, 2017.

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