Investigate attack on Amnesty International, SERAP tells Buhari, Osinbajo

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to “urgently instruct appropriate authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate apparently sponsored and coordinated attacks against Amnesty International Office in Nigeria, and ensure the safety and security of its staff.”

A group of protesters on Monday barricaded the Abuja office of Amnesty International and asked the international organisation to quit Nigeria within 24 hours.

In a statement Tuesday signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation called on Messrs. Buhari and Osinbajo to “act swiftly to end the increasing and apparently sponsored attacks, intimidation, harassment and threats against Amnesty International Office in Nigeria and its staff. Any failure to hold to account those who may be responsible will invariably increase the vulnerability of civil society in the country, and strengthen the perception that attacks against NGOs and human rights workers can happen with impunity.”

The statement read in part: “If the Buhari government does not take all necessary measures to immediately end the mob attack on Amnesty International or any other civil society group for that matter, SERAP will be compelled to take appropriate legal action nationally and internationally including approaching the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a remedy.”

“SERAP will continue to work to challenge any attempt to restrict, silence or eliminate the voices of credible civil society in the country. We urge the presidency to speak out strongly against intimidation and harassment of Amnesty International Office in Nigeria and its staff. Investigating the attacks against AI, naming and shaming the sponsors and bringing them to justice will send a powerful message of protection and support to civil society groups who stand up to speak truth to power.”

“Any attack on Amnesty International Office in Nigeria or harassment and intimidation of its staff members is an assault on the entire human rights community in the country. Sponsoring protests against NGOs that have shown astonishing courage in their human rights work hurt those most in need, undermine access of Nigerian victims of human rights violations and abuses to justice, and contribute to a culture of impunity of perpetrators.”

“This government has an obligation to support and protect civil society groups and human rights defenders against violence and sponsored attacks. Nigeria is a democratic society and the government can’t just sit back and watch reprisals, threats and increasing hostility to Amnesty International in particular and the NGO community in general.”

“Under the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and international human rights law, everyone whose rights are violated is entitled to a right to an effective remedy. Exposing human rights violations and seeking redress for them is largely dependent on the degree of security enjoyed by civil society groups and human rights defenders. Protecting NGOs against sponsored attacks and ending impunity for such attacks is therefore a critical element in the promotion and protection of human rights in this country.”

“While some may not like to hear some of the things Amnesty International has said, this in no way justifies this kind of mob attack on its office and staff members. The authorities should show commitment to protecting the right to freedom of expression and guarantee conditions for civil society to flourish.”


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  • Watch man

    “Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to “urgently instruct appropriate authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate apparently sponsored and coordinated attacks against Amnesty International Office in Nigeria, and ensure the safety and security of its staff.”

    SERAP, since when did protest mean “attacks”? Some of your actions sometimes make me want to believe that you are the hand of Esau.

    • abodes_124

      Well our law enforcement agents few protests and demonstrations seriously ask the ghosts of the IPOB dead or of the living ask 2 face . that no policeman was in sight during this ‘protest’ is instructive as to whether it was the voice of Esau and the hand of Jacob indeed.

  • God dey

    Excellent work from SERAP, again! Even under Abacha Nigerians never suffer this kind of impunity. God please come and help my people and country

    • Olaola

      You mean like when people were prevented from traveling abroad like El Rufai for no just reason or when the opposition party’s office was raided by DSS under the control of Ogar?
      You must have a short memory or just too shallow to remember all the atrocities under Jonathan.

      • abodes_124

        ….and so Amnesty international should be shut down now because of ‘all the atrocities under Jonathan’

  • Gary

    An obvious pro-govt. rented crowd storms the Amnesty International office in the Nigerian capital over allegations of abuse of civil and human rights of citizens.
    As if the Zaria Massacre never happened and the killings in Southern Kaduna a mirage. As if the uniformed services are not mindlessly killing civilians and brutalizing citizens with or without provocation.

    Citizens have of Nigeria, ask yourselves if you are safer with or without the presence of AI and why your government now wishes to get rid of foreign human rights agencies and prefer the local ones they can easily muzzle or ignore.
    What manner of democracy fears or resents the presence of international human rights bodies? Do these shortsighted people realize that driving out the likes of AI will adversely impacted the willingness of donor agencies to support the vital efforts to stave off starvation in the IDP camps in the Boko Haram devastated North East?

    Think people, please think before darkness descends upon Nigeria.

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  • thusspokez

    Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to “urgently instruct appropriate authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate apparently sponsored and coordinated attacks against Amnesty International Office in Nigeria, and ensure the safety and security of its staff.”

    Suspicion of the mob-hirers or masterminds point to the Nigerian army or Nigerian police or both.

    Organisations like SERAP should be very concerned; and it is in its own interest to see that AI does not leave Nigeria, otherwise, it will then empower the mob-hirers to then come after the likes of SERAP who in many areas, share the AI’ philosophy.