By By Ben Agande
KADUNA—DEFENCE Headquarters has accused Amnesty International, AI, of deliberately working to ensure Nigeria does not win the war against insurgency and other security challenges confronting the country.
It accused the group of deliberately recycling incidences of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, with the intention to stop the United States of America from selling fighter jets to Nigeria.
Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces Sniper Unit stand in their ghillie suits at the African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) military demonstration held at General Ao Azazi barracks in Gwagwalada on April 17, 2018.. / AFP PHOTO /
Acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, who stated this yesterday in Kaduna, said AI deliberately spread falsehood against the Nigerian armed forces in order to dampen the morale of troops engaged in counter-insurgency operations.
Agim, who briefed journalists at Headquarters, 1 Division Nigerian Army in Kaduna on Operation Whirl Punch, revealed that 14 bandits had been neutralised during their encounter with troops, while 422 cows and sheep were recovered since the operation began in October 2018.
Speaking on the activities of AI, the Defence spokesman said: “The armed forces and other security agencies recruit Nigerians into the forces based on quota system. This means that every segment of Nigeria has its kinsmen in the armed forces and other security agencies.
‘’So, we have representation and nobody will be happy if the military operates in his or her area and violates human rights of his people.
“When international organisations such as Amnesty International talks about human rights violation in Nigeria by the military, it is not simply that they don’t want us to violate human rights, it is deeper than that.
‘’The intention is to ensure that they perpetually make us not to be capable of confronting our challenges. From 2014, because of the reports of Amnesty International, the USA, for instance, invoked the Leahy Law which disallowed the US government from selling arms to Nigeria to confront these challenges.
‘’We don’t manufacture arms in Nigeria, but when our foreign partners refuse to sell arms to us, it affects all of us.
“In April 2018, we had a situation when the US accepted to sell us 12 Tucano aircraft. As soon as the international organization saw that Americans were ready to collaborate with Nigeria, every month, Amnesty International sends out reports on violation of human rights by the military.
‘’There are serious steps taken by the military and other security agencies to ensure that when we engage in any operation, we safeguard human right. All our institutions in the country, from the junior to the highest, are being taught law of arms so that you cannot go to any operation and do anything you like. Our service chiefs have human rights desks.”
“Also, in most of the operations, especially in the North East, court martial is established there. If you over step, they will be punished. But do you see the reports showing that such efforts are being taken by the military? Unfortunately for the media that do not know what the intentions of this NGO are, they will follow and carry the reports.
“If you read reports of Amnesty International, the one they have started publishing this year, they are putting what happened in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and they recycle it every month. So, you will see their reports and think the security agents have done something new.
‘’But if you take time to profile the report, you will discover that they are repeating the same thing. I want to assure you that the military is a Nigerian military and this military is made up of your brothers and sisters, so nobody will like to do anything wrong.
“Go back and look at the report of amnesty international, it is difficult to use it to trace anybody who has done something wrong. And whenever we are doing anything, we invite them to come, they will say no, we are not coming, they never collaborate with us and they don’t even collaborate with Amnesty Nigeria.
‘’I have come to the conclusion that they are not ready to work with the country to ensure that we have lasting peace.”