Nigerian military ups pressure against NGO Amnesty

By AT editor - 18 December 2018 at 6:16 am
Nigerian military ups pressure against NGO Amnesty

The Nigerian army has asked citizens to tune in Tuesday morning to an interview with its public relations spokesman, one day after the country’s military again accused an international NGO of collaborating with Islamic extremists and destabilizing the nation.

Brig. Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman’s media message followed his statement on the Nigerian branch of Amnesty International, which he said had “deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the original Amnesty International” and was fabricating allegations of human rights abuses.

Amnesty Nigeria also was accused of secretly sponsoring dissidents, and using Boko Haram conflicts and other political or security issues to promote instability. The remarks came after Amnesty issued a report Monday holding the Nigerian government accountable for nearly 4,000 deaths, the majority of them occurring this year, because of its inability to manage conflict between farmers and herders.

“The Nigerian government has displayed what can only be described as gross incompetence in its duty to protect the lives of its population and end the intensifying conflict between herders and farmers,” said Osai Ojigho, the director for Amnesty in Nigeria.

That’s triggered a response from the military for the second time in a week, after Nigerian officials imposed and then walked back a ban on UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, while accusing it of collaborating with terrorists. Ojigho said Amnesty viewed the UNICEF ban as part of a wider drive spanning many developing countries, in which governments seek to intimidate international humanitarian and human rights organizations – and now his own is facing the issue.

“The Nigerian Army has no option than to call for the closure of Amnesty International offices in Nigeria, if such recklessness continues,” said Usman, above, who dismissed “yet another concocted report against the military.”

Image: Nigerian Army HQ

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