The frequent accusation of the Nigerian Armed Forces by the human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI) of either violation of human rights after every operation or claiming it’s a lay back force after an attack by terrorist group, is becoming a worrisome trend and some observers are beginning to think the International Organisation has ulterior motives.
If the Nigerian military hit the insurgent camp as in the case of the current on going fight against Boko Haram in the North -East, AI will say they have violated the rights of the insurgents. If the insurgents achieve their aim of killing people per time, AI will also go to the public to say they are a lay back force.
And we ask, what does Amnesty International want from the Nigerian Military?
Over the years and even within this month, there have been several security breaches in schools and public places in the United States.
There have been several shootings in schools, open fields, churches and different gatherings by gunmen. In some cases, the gunmen are teenagers and this human right watch dog, has never gone to the press or media, to say the US Army aren’t securing the people like they are supposed to or complain of ‘inexcusably security lapses’ on the part of their security forces.
So many blacks have been killed and jailed unjustly, AI is yet to raise issues of violations of the rights of blacks in America. With these trends, it will be assumed that AI is simply out against African countries.
Nigeria’s military was on Tuesday, once again, accused by AI of ignoring repeated warnings about the movements of Boko Haram fighters before they kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in the country’s restive northeast.
The students, the youngest of whom is aged just 10, were seized from the town of Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, in virtually identical circumstances to those in Chibok, Borno State.
The international Organisation said the military failed to respond while Boko Haram conducted an armed raid on the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, on 19th February in an assault with chilling echoes of the infamous Chibok girls’ abduction of 2014.
According to AI, “The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.
“As an even greater priority, the government must use all lawful means at its disposal to ensure that these girls are rescued.
“The authorities appear to have learned nothing from the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State in 2014 and failed to ensure protection for civilians in northeast Nigeria, specifically girls’ schools.”
“Evidence available to Amnesty International, suggests that there are insufficient troops deployed in the area, and that an absence of patrols and the failure to respond to warnings and engage with Boko Haram, contributed to this tragedy,” said Osai Ojigho.
“The Nigerian authorities have failed in their duty to protect civilians, just as they did in Chibok four years ago. Despite being repeatedly told that Boko Haram fighters were heading to Dapchi, it appears that the police and military did nothing to avert the abduction.”
The human right watch dog said a team of Amnesty International researchers visited Dapchi and interviewed 23 people, including girls who escaped, parents of the abducted girls, local officials and eyewitnesses, to document this abduction. They also interviewed three security officials.
The sources independently verified a list of Nigerian security officials, who were alerted on 19 February, before and during the raid on the Government Girls Science and Technical College. They have been kept anonymous for their safety.
The sources and eyewitnesses in Dapchi confirmed that approximately 50 Boko Haram fighters arrived in Dapchi in a convoy of nine vehicles with Arabic inscriptions on them, seven Landcruiser trucks, one Hilux and a Canter truck.
In a swift reaction, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Military, Brigadier General John Agim, in a statement, said that apart from questioning the motive of Amnesty International, it is pertinent to state that most of their narratives are outright falsehood and a calculated attempt to whip up sentiments and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians, demoralise friendly nations and people collaborating with security forces to end the forces of evil in the North-East.
He said AI does not mean well for Nigeria going by their previous reputation of denigrating the security forces anytime they make gains against the forces of evil to incite the Nigerian public and international community against the Military.
He said, “the question Amnesty International has not answered satisfactorily is; which of the security forces and what unit was informed that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading towards Dapchi where they abducted Dapchi school girls?
What were the telephone numbers used to inform the Military or the Police? Why has AI refused to communicate its findings with the Federal Government’s Committee set up to investigate what happened before, during and after Dapchi girls’ abduction? Is AI trying to undermine the outcome of this committee? The answer is simple, AI is not ready to contribute towards finding a solution to our problems, if anything, they are ready to complicate the problems.”
Speaking with exclusively with Leadership Friday, the Ag Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, said AI simply conjured all the informations they churned out to the public as they did not speak to any military source nor showed them their findings before releasing the reports to the public.
He said they believe AI never spoke to anyone, adding that they just conjured the part in which they claimed to have spoken to three military sources.
He said justice was not done before AI went to the Press, noting that they never spoke to any military official before going to the press.
He dared AI to give names or better still, just telephone numbers of the officers they spoke to, saying the intent of AI is different as they are not just aiming at the Nigerian Military alone but at the nation at large.
Observers are of the opinion that AI should join forces with the Nigerian military to bring all forms of insurgency to an end instead of waiting for events to unfold before raising alarm of either violations of rights of the people or security lapses.
Others have opined that AI is always on the side of those taking up arms against the Nigerian state in particular, as the Organisation is often mute when they perpetrate crimes but cry fowl when government decides to protect her citizens, as the case has been over time.
Nigerians are urging Amnesty International to join force with her military at any point hoodlums take up arms against the state and help curb all forms of criminalities instantly instead of waiting for the military to go for operations then later come out to accuse them of violating their rights or lapses on the part of the security if the insurgents achieve their aim.
AI is not ready to contribute towards finding a solution to our problems, if anything, they are ready to complicate the problems.
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