The Presidency on Wednesday knocked the global human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International, accusing it of playing ‘domestic politics.’
This is as it said the organisation has no legal rights to operate in Nigeria, accusing it of allegedly legitimising the cause of the proscribed group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled, ‘Why Amnesty’s Entreaties Should Be Ignored, by Presidency.’
The statement read in part, “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.
“Amnesty International has no legal right to exist in Nigeria. It must open a formal investigation into the personnel that occupies their Nigerian offices. 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 asserted that “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.”
It also said Amnesty International had decided to “side with terrorists, before the liberty of those they injure, displace and murder.”
It accused the human rights organisation of speaking the language of universal human rights while deploying it only in defence – even outright promotion – of those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“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.’”
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