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In a statement issued on Thursday, Nigerian Army described the NGOs actions as subversive and also accused it of assisting terrorists.
It added that has warned the organisation against doing this many times already noting that it’s consequently decided to declare AAH “persona nan grata [sic.] for aiding Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West Africa by supplying them food and drugs despite warning”.
“The Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE (TC-OPLD) has observed with utter disappointment and concern the notorious activities of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) working in the North East (NE) Nigeria,” the statement said.
“The subversive actions of the NGO Action Against Hunger (AAH) persisted despite several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities the TC-OPLD has on many occasions raised alarm over this unwholesome practices of some NGOs and expressed same position during meetings with the NGOs operating in the NE.”
Premium Times had, earlier on Thursday, reported seeing two military trucks packed at the entrance to AAH’s office. Employees of the NGO told the paper they reported for work only to find that armed soldiers had taken over the structure.
“We are actually surprised that our Maiduguri office has been sealed off by soldiers, but we have no idea why and we have not been communicated,” AAH’s country director in Nigeria, Shashwat Saraf, told Premium Times.
“So we have been trying to find out; I will say we hope to get more information if there is any confusion before the end of the day. As it is right now, we have no information, though it happened since last night. We will get back to you if we have more information.”
The United Nations’ Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 states that a state receiving diplomats “may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending state that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable”. The sending state is then expected to recall the person or end his relations with the mission.
But the persona non grata status has been used as well by various countries for persons who are not diplomats.
In April 2018, the Nigerian Army declared three employees of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) working in the Northeast persona non grata following allegations that soldiers raped girls at IDP camps in Borno State. The decision was however rescinded days later.