Amnesty International Reacts To Nigerian Army Allegation On Destabilizing The Country
The army accused the rights group of planning to destabilize Nigeria by claiming that 3,641 deaths were recorded in herders/farmers clashes. It called for its expulsion, Naija News reports.
But the organisation insisted on the integrity of its reports and dismissed the army’s position as “empty threats”.
The body said there was nothing to worry over on the military’s verdict that its activities were subversive.
In reaction to the army’s threat, following its report on the death toll recorded in the farmers/herders’ clashes in the last three years, AI Nigeria Chairman, Auwal Rafsanjani said nobody could stop the organisation from documenting and monitoring human rights violations, whether in Nigeria or elsewhere.
Speaking yesterday at the unveiling of its report “Harvest of death: three years of bloody clashes between herders and farmers”, Rafsanjani said: “Our response to the threat of the military; just like they have threatened to shut down UNICEF activities in the Northeast, I think that rather than this unnecessary hostility on issues that affect all of us as human beings, we will rather advice the military to look at the recommendations that we have provided. Threatening to shut down the operations of AI Nigeria is not the solution to the continued violence, conflicts and criminality we are seeing in Nigeria.
“We are not a threat, we are rather partners in progress, addressing the lapses of human rights violations but to come and be threatening things that you cannot even stop is a waste of time; nobody can stop AI from documenting and monitoring human rights violations, whether in Nigeria or outside the country, so this is not a threat that really worries us, it is just an empty threat.”
AI’s Country Director Osai Ojigho said the organisation want the government to live up to its responsibilities, so that if anyone commits a crime, he is arrested and dealt with.
Ojigho stated that the report showed how the government’s inaction fuelled impunity, resulting in attacks and reprisal attacks, with no fewer than 3,641 people killed between January 2016 and October 2018, 57 per cent of them in 2018 alone.
She said AI visited 56 communities in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and Zamfara states affected by these clashes and conducted 262 interviews, including remotely with members of communities in Nasarawa and Plateau states.
Her words: “This report documents the violent clashes between members of farmer communities and members of herder communities in parts of Nigeria, particularly in the northern parts of the country, over access to resources: water and pasture. It also documents the failure of the Nigerian government in fulfilling its constitutional responsibility of protection of lives and property by refusing to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of attacks.
“The report shows how government’s inaction fuels impunity, resulting in attacks and reprisal attacks, with at least 3,641 people killed between January 2016 and October 2018, 57 per cent of them in 2018 alone.
“AI visited 56 communities in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and Zamfara states affected by the clashes and conducted 262 interviews, including remotely with members of communities in Nasarawa and Plateau states.”