The Nigerian military has accused Amnesty International of a deliberate attempt to weaken its effort towards ensuring peace and security in the country.
In a statement on Friday night, the military through its spokesperson, John Agim, a general, accused the global human right organisation of propagating “falsehood” through its 2017/2018 human rights report on Nigeria released on last Thursday.
In the report, Amnesty International accused the military and other security agencies in the country of widespread human right abuses, including operating sub-human mass detention centres where Boko Haram suspects are kept in overcrowded and disease-infested cell.
The organisation, which also accused the military of extrajudicial killings, said some of the captives are even starved to death in the detention centres.
It also accuse security agencies of muffling freedom of speech and breaching press freedom through intimidation of journalists and bloggers.
But the military on Friday accused Amnesty International of the habit of releasing “unconfirmed reports, unsubstantiated claims and figures relating to military counter-insurgency operations”.
“It is pertinent to reiterate that the AFN (Armed Forces of Nigeria) as a responsible institution, financed by taxpayers, is bound to respond to these allegations in order to put the records in proper perspective.
“The AI allegations of human rights violations and extra judicial killing of civilians by the AFN have followed a specific trend for some time now. It could be noted that the organisation’s allegations made against the AFN since 2011 to date are largely unsubstantiated.”
The statement however erroneously claimed that Amnesty International, while highlighting various cases of alleged right abuses and extrajudicial killings did not acknowledge the release of those found not guilty.
“Unfortunately, AI failed to acknowledge the ongoing fair trial and conviction of culpable members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect and the release of those not found guilty.
“The number of persons released and re-integrated with the larger community is over 500,” Mr. Agim wrote.
But Amnesty International’s report acknowledged that 468 suspects were discharged after ”first phase of trials.”
Mr. Agim said the suspects were ”well-fed and given medical attention while in detention.”
Mr. Agim said the military were never contacted to balance the report. He added that the organisation has turned down previous efforts by the military for discussions about its allegations.
He said the report, which he described as “deliberate falsehood”, was aimed at denting the image of the military so as to prevent it from acquiring military hardware needed to fight Boko Haram and other non-state armed groups.
Treatment of homosexuals
The statement while defending the federal government also stated that Amnesty International’s claim that the Nigerian government was infringing on the rights of lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgender as well as intersex persons was unfounded as the law of the country and the culture of Nigerians forbids all forms of homosexuality.
The military also added that if Amnesty International was unhappy with the treatment of homosexuals in the country it should offer them admittance to countries where they would be tolerated.
“This position of AI, clearly shows lack of respect for the constitution of Nigeria which these laws have become part.
”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 these class of people with green cards to enable them re-locate to other places across the world that accept such practices as it may not be necessary for them to remain Nigerians.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...