21.6 C
Abuja

Amnesty International maintains impartial stance, ignores media allegations of human rights abuse

Advertisement

Related

Advertisement
Advertisement

THE Director of Amnesty International, Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, has declared that the organisation is impartial, and not politically controlled by the Nigerian government.

This was in response to a question asked by The ICIR regarding a report published by a newsletter, West Africa Weekly about the secret alliance between Amnesty International Nigeria (AIN) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Ojigho acknowledged the report – done by the Editor of the newsletter, David Hundeyin, and an investigation by The ICIR – during a panel session of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) 2022 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on April 28, 2022.


READ ALSO:

Amnesty International Nigeria: I have reconciled differences with Ojigho, says Tietie

How Amnesty International turns blind eye to human rights abuses in Nigeria, bullies staff 

Amnesty International decries mass expulsion of Africans by the UAE


- Advertisement -

She maintained that the global human rights body publishes its numerous report without fear and favour, taking into cognisance human rights principles.

Ojigho said, “Amnesty International is an impartial organisation. We are non-political and do not support any particular regulatory arm. We do our report without fear and favour. What that means is that whatever position we take is based on human rights principles. We recognise the work we do and that some people might disagree with our approach, but we always explain the methodology of the research that we do and also how we carry out those activities.”

She explained that Amnesty International had been specifically targeted by both the Federal Government and the Nigerian military for its laser-sharp reports, which she said had continued to expose governmental ills.

She added, “During the #EndSARS protest, there were various attempts at demeaning us, calling us all kinds of names, like supporters of Boko Haram. But we stood still because we realised that the work we are doing is very important. This has come at a very great cost to myself and colleagues who do the tireless work. We are less than 20, covering the entire country and you can imagine the amount of work and the pressure that we go through in covering several human rights situations as they occur.

“We do this with the conviction that it is about humanity. But it is within the confines and the rules and regulations of an international organisation like Amnesty International, which is present in many countries. At times, it may not be very clear to people, but we do it with the recognition that the work we do is that everyone gets a fair chance, and that we also get a fair chance.”

In the investigative report published by The ICIR, the Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, expressed disappointment at the state of human rights observation and enforcement in Nigeria and blamed Ojigho’s management style at AIN.

A screenshot of the public statement by AIN that was almost revoked.
A screenshot of the public statement by AIN that was almost revoked.

“It is more worrisome to me that the Director of Amnesty International, Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, is more eager to find justifications for neither responding nor interfering in the grave but trending human rights issues of serious national concerns in Nigeria, on the grounds that such issues are outside the set thematic areas of Amnesty International for 2018,” he wrote in a letter.

- Advertisement -

Similarly, human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, in a tweet, asked Amnesty International to close down its Nigerian office for hobnobbing with what he called the country’s prime violator of human rights, the Department of State Services (DSS).

“After taking over @AmnestyNigeria and with its cells filled with innocent victims, Nigeria’s prime violator of human rights, the DSS, seeks better relationship with CSOs (civil society organisations). @amnesty ought to close down its Nigerian office at this point. #WeCantContinueLikeThis,” his tweet read.

At the same panel discussion, a Deputy Director at Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP), Kolawole Oluwadare, revealed that the organisation had 37 lawsuits against different tiers of government.

Oluwadare revealed that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was empowered by section 174 of Nigeria’s constitution power to discontinue at any stage the judgment to be delivered regarding any criminal proceedings in the public interest.

He said, “You may not know what that means until it is done to you. That means that if the judgment is tomorrow for any criminal case that has gone on for 10 years, the AGF can come up today, take up their case, discontinue it and no one can challenge him. Lawyers have tried to challenge what public interest means, though the constitution says he can exercise that power in public interest. That is how powerful strategic litigation is, and that is what SERAP does.

“Twitter ban, for example, we were able to get an injunction from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court that stopped the Federal Government. If you remember, the Attorney General came out to say anyone found using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) would be arrested. While we were challenging the ban for being unlawful, you said anyone that uses VPN to access Twitter would be jailed. The court granted an interim injunction stopping the AGF from going on with his agenda. This is why it is called strategic litigation – to challenge vital areas of law.”

- Advertisement -

He noted that the cases against the government were still too few. However, he stressed the importance of making use of the judiciary to determine rights between individuals, arms and tiers of government, and between government and the citizens to get justice.

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org

Support the ICIR

We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

[molongui_author_box]

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

Advertisement

Recent

ISWAP claims responsibility for Kuje Prison attack

THE Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for the attack...

Kuje Prison attack: FCT minister urges traditional rulers to fish out fleeing inmates

MINISTER of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Muhammad Musa Bello has called on...

Abuja-Kaduna train attackers behind attack on Kuje Prison – Gumi’s aide

TUKUR Mamu, a media consultant to controversial Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi, has said the...

Buhari visits Kuje Prison, expresses shock at scale and audacity of attack

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock at the "scale and audacity of the attack"...

How elderly Nigerian doctor insisted on botched procedure that landed him in jail

AN 85-year-old Nigerian doctor Isyaka Mamman has been sentenced to three years in prison...
Advertisement

Most Read

Advertisement

Subscribe to our newsletter

Advertisement