The presidency says it will ignore Amnesty’s request to probe “missing” members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and #EndSARS protesters.
Amnesty had said at least 200 members of IPOB, #EndSARS protesters, and former militants from Niger Delta have been subjected to “unresolved enforced disappearances”.Responding, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, described the allegations as “mere rants” and accused the human rights organisation of taking sides with terrorists.Shehu alleged that IPOB has amassed a “substantial stockpile” of weapons and bombs across the country.
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“Speaking the language of universal human rights, Amnesty International deploys it only in defence – even outright promotion – of those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the statement reads.“Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, a proscribed terror organisation, they work to legitimise its cause to Western audiences. This puts them in bad company. Controversial American lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the same, laundering IPOB’s reputation in Washington DC.“IPOB murder Nigerian citizens. They kill police officers and military personnel and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country. Were this group in a western country, you would not expect to hear Amnesty’s full-throated defence of their actions. Instead, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justification of western governments’ action to check the spread of ‘terrorism’.
“Despite Amnesty’s self-proclaimed mandate to impartially transcend borders, unfortunately in Nigeria, they play only domestic politics. The international NGO is being used as cover for the organisation’s local leaders to pursue their self-interests. Regrettably, this is not uncommon in Africa. There is nothing wrong with an activist stance; there are claims of neutrality, when all facts point to the opposite.”The presidency said the organisation has no legal right to exist in Nigeria and advised it to probe its personnel in Nigeria.“They should reject the outrageously tendentious misinformation they receive and bring some semblance of due diligence to the sources they base their claims on. Currently, we see none,” the presidency added.“The Nigerian government will fight terrorism with all the means at its disposal. We will ignore Amnesty’s rantings. Especially when it comes from an organisation that does not hold itself to the same standards it demands of others.”
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