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Amnesty Int’l report: FG appeals to communities not to be provoked

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By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA — THE Presidency, yesterday,  said Federal Ministry of Justice was analysing the Amnesty International, AI, report for further responses. even as it appealed to communities affected by the terrorists and farmers/herders attacks not to be provoked or inflamed by the alleged misleading report of AI to seek or pursue reprisal action against others within their communities.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, said military would not be deterred by the report of AI, that had accused the military of human rights abuses.

The statement said: “The first thing to say about AI’s report, setting the record straight, is to thank the organisation for confirming a fact stated time and again by President Muhammadu Buhari that the conflict between herders and farmers in Nigeria is not about religion.

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“There is equally a confirmation by AI that it is being stoked by local politicians and that this whole problem is about the scarcity of resources.  Beyond these, the report had raised our concerns about the validity of their evidence-gathering. It is like knowing the facts but drawing the wrong conclusions.

“Still, AI  got some of its facts wrong. It is not correct to state in any way that the problem between farmers and herders is a new thing over the last three years. It has been happening for over 100 years. Colonial powers such as Britain and France had regularly recorded these conflicts, which are available in archives.

“It is equally untrue that government had done nothing. Alleged human rights abuses have been investigated. Clashes have been reduced through government’s actions.

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“This progress is due to the strong determination of the administration to punish rights violators no matter who they are, including the military through orderly room trials, court martials and the regular courts.

“This administration has given absolute freedom to National Human Rights Commission,  NHRC, and set an important record by paying compensation to the victims of the rights abuses. The Apo six, for instance, had received compensation to the tune of N135 million. Just a few months back, the President signed the law against torture.”

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