The Nigerian Army has called for the closure of the Amnesty International, AI, offices in Nigeria, alleging there is credible evidence the organisation is working hard to destabilise the country.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman said in a statement on Monday that the organisation’s attempt to destabilise the nation was noted through fabrication of fictitious allegations of alleged human rights abuses against the Nigerian security forces.
Usman also alleged the AI had engaged in clandestine sponsorship of dissident groups to protest, as well as unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military.
Amnesty International had on Monday said the Nigerian authorities’ failure to investigate communal clashes and bring perpetrators to justice has fuelled a bloody escalation in the conflict between farmers and herders across the country. The conflict has resulted in at least 3,641 deaths in the past three years and the displacement of thousands more, the report stated.
In the report titled, “Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders”, Amnesty International found that 57 per cent of the 3,641 recorded deaths occurred in 2018.
It said security forces were often positioned close to the attacks, which lasted hours and sometimes days, yet were slow to act. In some cases, security forces had prior warning of an imminent raid but did nothing to stop or prevent the killings, looting and burning of homes, it highlighted.
“The Nigerian government has displayed what can only be described as gross incompetence and has failed in its duty to protect the lives of its population and end the intensifying conflict between herders and farmers. The authorities’ lethargy has allowed impunity to flourish and the killings to spread to many parts of the country, inflicting greater suffering on communities who already live in constant fear of the next attack,” said the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho.
It is not clear if the army’s outburst is an outcome of the organisation’s latest report but Usman has now come out to say the Nigerian branch of AI that used to be well respected had deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the original parent body in the United Kingdom.
“They have tried over the years using Boko Haram terrorists conflicts, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some activists and now herders-farmers conflicts.
“The NGO is at the verge of releasing yet another concocted report against the military, ostensibly against the Nigerian Army.
“Consequently, Nigerians should be wary of Amnesty International (Nigeria) because its goals are to destabilise Nigeria and to dismember it.
“The Nigerian Army has no option than to call for the closure of Amnesty International offices in Nigeria, if such recklessness continues.”