Over fifty persons are protesting right now in front of the office of the Amnesty International in Abuja, Nigeria. Sources at the office say that the protesters are shouting “Amnesty International We no go gree.”
A few of them are holding placards and big banners with inscriptions that say: “No to Amnesty International” “Leave our country”, “AI is worse than Boko Haram”, “Leave Nigeria alone”. “We know your mission here”. AI has recently released reports on the alleged human rights violations by the Nigerian military and other security agencies in the country.
These reports angered the authorities in Nigeria and they are now using various means to discredit AI. A source said that the security agencies were upset over their alleged role in the killing of the members of Shiites in Kaduna and the Biafran agitators in the South east. In a statement, the military attributed the report of the Amnesty International to meddling in local politics and security issues.
They claimed that AI was engaging in activities that were “inimical to national interest, cohesion and unity”.
In reaction, security agencies are sponsoring groups that are staging protests against AI and its activities in Nigeria as is the case today. They have also launched vicious media attacks, and used faceless non governmental organisations, to undermine and discredit the work of Amnesty international.
Nigerian authorities should desist from this cheap and irresponsible blackmail and rise up to their duty of protecting the human rights of its citizens. It must be recalled that the current government come into power on the platform of change and relied on the information that was provided by international non governmental organisations such as Amnesty International in highlighting the poor management by the previous government of the insurgency in Northern Nigeria, the kidnapping of the Chibok girls and military operations.
It is unfortunate that the same government is sponsoring, aiding and abetting vicious attacks, intimidation and smear campaigns to undermine the human rights work of Amnesty International.
The government should rather use all civilized means to respond or refute the reports and claims of AI and take effective measures to address the alleged human rights violations by the security agencies.