By Godwin Onoja
The perpetual tormentors-in-chief of Nigeria and self-styled global human rights watchdogs, Amnesty International (AI) has wittingly resumed its nefarious trade of secretly backing the destabilization plots against Nigeria. It is coming out more clearly and forcefully by tacitly backing of operations of extremists and terrorists sects in the country with confounding lies and guesswork.
Not long ago, enraged Nigerians assailed the office of AI in Abuja in peaceful protests, demanding its exit from Nigeria. This was after the masses perceived their inordinate roles as insidiously supporting anti-Nigerian sects manifest in extremists, terrorists and separatists’ gangs that have clustered Nigeria in the phased execution of the disintegration plot to blow the nation into pieces.
Therefore, the continued offensives by AI on the Nigerian state provoked the protests earlier this year, from an assemblage of civil society organizations. It issued a seven- day ultimatum to AI and vehemently insisted that AI should leave Nigeria. It is regrettable and sad, the magnanimity displayed by the Government of Nigeria and its failure to respond to the yearnings of the Nigerian people. It has continued to harbor AI to operate on Nigerian soil, polluting the land some more, subtly pushing dissension voices and extending veiled support to terrorists and other violent gangs tormenting Nigeria.
Shamefaced by public anger against it, AI momentarily went underground to recuperate from its battered image. But it has resurrected again more dangerously than ever envisaged. A few days ago, it released another report cataloguing series of misdemeanors against the Nigerian government and the military. And as usual, the report is crafted and centered on providing succor and impetus to extremists’ and terrorists sects terrorizing Nigeria, while indicting security agents and the FGN over unproven allegations of human rights abuses.
At the 2017 commemoration of the “International Day of the Disappeared” AI again claimed hundreds of Nigerians have suffered enforced disappearance or held in detentions recently because of the operations of Boko Haram terrorists, the Iranian -sponsored Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) led by Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and the violently abrasive Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) propelled by Nnamdi Kanu.
AL mouthed that such conduct offended the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It is hypocritical to say the least. While AI felt satisfied to align with international conventions in unjustly stabbing Nigeria on the back; it consciously failed to apply international best standards in arriving the perverted judgment, by relying on crude information which it elevated and anointed as official.
This much can be discerned from the media statement credited to AI’s Country Director, Osai Ojigho. AI belittled its essence by assuming and indeed, believing that verbal claims by IMN officials on its failure to locate the whereabouts of at least 600 of its members, after the Shiites/ military clash of December, 2015, in Zaria, Kaduna State is necessarily true on its strength. They searched for no further clues of confirmation of the statistics nearly two years after the incident.
What AI has publicized are mere assumptions about the incident; assumptions it has delusively passed as “facts” for public consumption. AI funnily depended on heresy and passed its verdict condemning securing agents and the government for forced disappearances.
To protect itself from the weird verdict, AI trumpeted that such conduct was inimical to International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. But lazily, AI’s outing again advertised them more like an international agency operating a scam in the backyard of a kitchen. It quoted violations of international conventions, but consciously failed to apply international best standards of investigation to verify the conclusions they publicized.
AI’s mindset as contained in this statement betrayed them as sympathizers’ of terrorists sects in Nigeria; Ojigho had stated; “In recent times, those who have disappeared go into hundreds of Nigerians. We can’t put an exact figure to it, but if we are to take the IMN figures of 600, and if we are to look at what happened during the curbing of pro-Biafra protesters in the South East last year, and we put a number of about 200 people that have been missing, and the numbers could be actually higher.”
Ojigho further guessed; “And then, we look at those who, as a result of the conflict in the North-East, particularly in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, who have been picked up by security agents, especially where there had been an attack by Boko Haram, and about who no records have been found to date, then you can put another 300 that have not been verified. So, it is hundreds we can say, but we know that the numbers can definitely be in thousands,”
AI further again pointed at the counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast, their favorite domain, as the hub of enforced disappearances’, but failed to reveal how they arrived at such laughable conclusions. The AI Country Director was only sure of such evidence on other parts of the country. It battles that an international human rights organization which lays claim to any integrity, by indicting a the government of a whole nation and its security agencies would anchor its verdict on hypothesis or the partial admissions of a party in the dispute.
Continuing with this verbal assault on the psyche of the military, Ojigho said, “According to figures provided by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, at least 600 of their members’ whereabouts is not known since the clashes with the military in December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State.” Is the military custodians of Shiites members? Why did AI resort to this irritating vagueness? It is an admission that it has no case to prove against either the government or the military.
But more spectacularly suspicious, it appears AI is running a parallel government in Nigeria within Nigerian sovereignty. It rushes to public space to condemn everything whether lawful or outside their purview. AI has no right to prescribe for Nigerians the laws that should govern the nation. But if AI is not scolding the National Assembly for attempting to pass death penalty bill against kidnappers/abductors; it is questioning why there are moves to pass anti-gay bill.
AI will not stop to amuse themselves and their paymasters. It’s doubtful now whether AI has really discovered itself. By its consistent poor outings, AI has derobed itself of anything decent and so, it cannot conceal its passion for terrorism. Pushed by these forces, it is blind to anything noble. It shamelessly defends acts of terrorism and violent insurrections against Nigerian people.
An international human rights organization with any pedigree worthy of reference would not showcase such aberrations’. What atrocities has IPOB not committed in Nigeria? At the risk of anything, its safer to conclude that IPOB is a veiled terrorists sect. Months back, the Department of State Services (DSS) linked these agitators to scores of shallow graves of kinsmen and non-tribes in Umuanyi forest near Aba in Abia, who opposed the Biafran cause and the agitations.
IPOB indulges in kidnapping/abductions and extrajudicial killings with impunity. They ambush security agents and butcher them like rams on the slaughter slab. But such heinous crimes against humanity are blurred from the sight of AI. The same tale applies when militants take up arms against the nation.
And in one of its public statements signed by Ojigho, AI described the dreariness of the atrocities of Boko Haram insurgents, as “vicious, demonstrate a contemptible disregard for human life and the bloodiest so far this year.” They were reacting to the attack on Jiddari Polo community in Maiduguri. No organization with a sense of responsibility would turn around to defend such ferocious and satanic minds in the guise of human rights.
Perhaps, AI was compelled to voice out because of the barrage of public criticisms against it in order to defray public anger and confuse the focus on their suspected espionage mission in Nigeria.
Nigeria has been patient enough with AI and the time has come for the federal government to take decisive steps towards ending this reign of official terror on Nigerians perpetrated by AI. Nigeria’s tolerance of the transgressions of AI is mistaken for weakness. And in desperation to protect an already battered image, they go to the extent of renting lawyers and public intellectuals to bark at the country in defending their ignoble roles.
AI is more unreasonably confrontational to constituted authority than the security agents they freely accuse. And Nigerians cannot continue to stomach their destructive guess work, which is most times directed at the military for wrongs the human rights itself agency can neither decode nor defend. This nonsense of masked backing of violent extremists and terrorists to cause breakdown of law and order in the country in the guise of protecting human rights or the sponsorship of street protests against Nigeria by AI must end forthwith.
Onoja is National Co-ordinator, Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism and contributed this piece from Jos.
OPed Pieces are not the opinions of the BreakingTimes team/board.