– Global movement, Amnesty International continues to be a subject of criticisms in Nigeria
– The movement has been subjected to criticisms and protests in the last few days
– Allegations of the movement attempting to revive terrorism in Nigeria are rife in the local media
The backlash against the latest report by Amnesty International alleging ra*pe and murder of Internally Displaced Persons by the Nigerian military and local vigilantes has raised questions about the safety of the personnel of the movement in Nigeria.
Already, persons connected with the movement are expressing fears about their continued safety following the backlash of criticisms and protests that have characterized the latest report.
According to Comrade Danesi Momoh, the national convener of the Civil Rights Groups, indications that the international non-governmental organization is failing in Nigeria and is hanging on to a last straw, by constantly linking the Nigerian military to abuse, without adequate proof.
Amnesty International had accused soldiers and members of Civilian JTF, a local vigilante group fighting Boko Haram in the northeast, of se*ually exploiting displaced women in exchange for food.
The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian Army dismissed the report as fiction while local civil society organizations staged protests in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, demanding that Amnesty International leave the country.
The protests erupted one clear day before the report was officially published, signaling the document was leaked ahead of the embargoed time.
The Borno state government also issued a statement to debunk AI’s allegations, describing it as baseless and one lacking in facts.
The statement rather took turn to praise the military and their personnel for their satisfactory conducts across the camps in the northeast.
Even as the conflicting reactions trail the publication, there are reports that two journalists received the advanced copy of the report. Neither of them admitted to leaking the report ahead of publication.
Both journalists declined being identified as one cited fear of reprisals from Amnesty International, while the second one is said to be interested in retaining the privileges of getting invites to exclusive events organized by Amnesty International and its allies.
One of the journalists said: “When I got the report, there was a way my conscience was pricking because I know the things they wrote there are either blown out of proportion or they never even happened at all.
“Some of the things that have been discussed at one workshop they organized for us suddenly began to make sense, I see in retrospect that the training were actually brainwashing sessions that condition us (journalists) to take reports from foreigners without questioning.”
The second journalist blamed the federal government and the military for being slow in alerting citizens about the activities of the organization. He questioned why the government allowed Amnesty International to operate like an occupying force in Nigeria.
According to him, “people will not understand the extent of powers that AI has, when they issue reports not reporting it is like death sentence. We are expected to accord it the same prominence as the US or UN. Yet, some of us have realized how evil it is, which is why it is a surprise that the government has not called them to order or not telling Nigerians early enough about the true scale of evil that they are executing in Nigeria.
“The role of the press is to report objectively and not to serve the public any perspective that doesn’t represent the interest of the country, but even this AI has taken away from us,” he said.
The journalists revealed that officials of Amnesty International were enraged over the report being leaked, which gave local groups time to organize protests that detracted from its importance as a means of wiping up anger against the government and army and buy support for Boko Haram.
The officials were said to be worried that failing to meet key performance indicators could disrupt funding.
Demonstrators who vowed to keep occupying the organization’s office in Abuja are threatening to take matters into their own hands unless government takes steps to send officials of Amnesty International out of the country or at least shutter its operations, noting that its activities support Boko Haram terrorists and is imperiling the lives of Nigerians.
Comrade Danesi Momoh, the national convener of the Civil Rights Groups, told protesters that “Nigerians are not going to sheepishly step on the conveyor belt of Amnesty International’s destabilization agenda to be like Iraq, Yemen, Libya and other countries where Amnesty International has successfully executed its contract of incapacitating the military through webs of lies spun in the name of upholding human rights.”
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