© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Your antagonism of our security agencies is uncalled for, FG calls out Amnesty International
THE Federal Government has slammed Amnesty International (AI) over its reports which tags the military tactics of fighting insurgency in the Northeast as possible war crimes.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, accused the global advocacy group of joining the league of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists by providing them succor and painting the military as bad guys to the rest of the world.
“I will like to add that in carrying out their duties, Amnesty International should not cast themselves in the league of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists,” Mohammed said.
“They should stop the growing practice of constantly attacking the military and casting them as the bad guys when all they are doing is putting their lives on the line to fight terrorists who have no respect for the sanctity of life, who willfully go after women and children, who attack houses of worship without respect or allegiance to any religion,”he added.
According to Mohammed, the security forces are risking their lives to protect lives and properties as opposed to committing atrocities such as displacing inhabitants of villages and torturing civilians as AI’s reports claim.
“Amnesty International should stop providing succour for terrorists by attributing their atrocities to our troops,” he said.
“Our soldiers, who are defending the country, are guided by extant rules of engagement and operational codes of conduct. They should not be made to look like the aggressors here.”
The minister’s outburst followed a report released by the AI on February 14 alleging war crimes against Nigerian troops in the Northeast.
Amnesty International in the report alleged that Nigerian troops employed brutal tactics against the civilian population, displaced families, destroye properties and still played hero in the fight against terrorism.
“These brazen acts of razing entire villages, deliberately destroying civilian homes and forcibly displacing their inhabitants with no imperative military grounds, should be investigated as possible war crimes,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria in the report.
The Federal Government and the international advocacy group have always differed on the roles played by Nigerian security agencies in the fight against terrorism.
While AI is calling out Nigerian security forces and demanding that their tactics be investigated, their reports have been severally countered by the Federal Government.
The Nigerian government has always come to the defence of its troops and asked the advocacy group stop playing the devil’s advocate.
It will be recalled that a group of protesters on February 11 stormed the office of AI, asking that the group leave the country or be forced out. This was just three days before the release of its report that called out the Nigerian troops.
In a series of tweet, the international advocacy group had claimed that the ‘sponsored’ protesters were from the government.
It argued that the protest was one of many that have been carried out against its activities since March 20 2017.