Promoting Good Governance.

Amnesty International attacking us for opposing gay rights, says DHQ

Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says Amnesty International (AI), an international human rights group, wants the country to introduce lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights.

John Agim, Acting Director of Defence Information, made this known in a statement on Saturday.

He said Nigeria’s disinterest in introducing such rights is the reason AI has constantly blackmailed the nation’s security operatives with allegations of human rights abuses.

Agim was responding to AI’s report on Thursday which accused the Nigerian military of flagrant human rights abuses against arrested terror suspects, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and persons seen to gays or lesbians.

The statement reiterated that Nigeria will never introduce any concept that goes against the culture and beliefs of its people, and urged AI to grant such gay and lesbian persons green cards to relocate to other countries if the organisation so cares about them.

“Other sins of the Nigerian government, as captured by the AI in its report, include infringing the rights of lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgender as well as intersex persons. These AI championed rights have been strictly outlawed by Laws of the Federation of Nigeria subsuming the Nigerian constitution as well as the cultural practices of our people,” Agim stated.

“This position of AI clearly shows slack of respect for the constitution of Nigeria, which these laws have become part of.

“Let it be known that the Nigerian government and its people are not ready and would never be, even in future, to please AI or anyone with the introduction of such things.

“However, if AI feels strongly against the position of the Nigerian people on this issue and wants to assist the ‘victims’, they could issue this class of people with green cards to enable them relocate to other places across the world that accept such practices, as it may not be necessary for them to remain Nigerians.”

Amnesty international had also accused the Nigerian military of unfair treatment on persons arrested in the north-east on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram.

The group alleged that 4,900 Boko Haram detainees were held in Giwa Barracks at an overcrowded facility where 340 detainees had already died of diseases and dehydration.

But the army denied this, accusing AI of intentionally refusing to acknowledge that a mass trial, which has led to the release of hundreds of the suspects, is ongoing.

“The number of persons released and reintegrated with the larger community is over 500.Both the convicted and freed suspects were earlier arrested from different locations across the country and taken to Kainji, a place that is relatively safer with enough space to accommodate them while providing the detainees with 3 square meals daily,” the statement read.

“The suspects were also given proper medical attention by military medical team attached to the detention facility.

“It is notable that the arrested Boko Haram members from the ongoing OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE were being tried by the Federal High Court at Wawa Cantonment Kainji since Friday 16 February 2018 convicting 205 detainees to various jail terms while 526 suspects have been freed for want of evidence.”

According to Agim, spokesman of the DHQ, the Armed Forces of Nigerian (AFN) remains highly disciplined and cannot condone any breach of set regulations, let alone wanton killing of citizens or destruction of property as alleged by AI.

He noted that AI did not contact the DHQ for clarifications on the several allegations against the Nigerian military. He also said several attempts by the DHQ to reach AI were rebuffed.

“AI does not seem to see anything wrong about the insurgents’ activities and known criminals until security agencies rise to the occasion of effectively containing their actions,” Agim stated.

“It could then be posited that the aim of AI in Nigeria is to cripple the country’s security apparatus through cheap blackmail in order to hold back necessary collaboration.

“This is to inform the Nigerian public and the International Community that the AFN exhibit professionalism in its operations. Therefore, it is not proper for an organization in the class of AI to incite the Nigerian public and the international community against them.

“Currently, the AFN is bringing sanity to security challenges in the North East and other parts of country. The Nigerian public and international community are hereby requested to disregard the current Amnesty report (and to) keep faith and confidence in the AFN.”

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