The presidency has accused Amnesty International of turning itself into a useful tool in the hands of the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The presidency accused the international human rights group of blindly defending Nnamdi Kanu and his proscribed IPOB group.
Speaking in a statement on Wednesday signed by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, the presidency told Amnesty International that it has no legal right to be operating in Nigeria, adding that the organization has lost neutrality in its operations.
It accused Amnesty International of taking sides with terrorists and attempting to paint the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light before western countries and the international community at large.
The presidency also called on Nigerians and the international community to ignore entreaties by Amnesty on behalf of Kanu and his group, alleging that many other public relations organizations are heavily paid to paint IPOB in a good light.
Shehu in the statement said IPOB is a terrorist organization that has been stockpiling weapons including bombs and attacking government buildings and security agencies in the southeast.
The full statement from the presidency reads: “Amnesty International’s latest salvo at Nigeria is but more of the same.”
“Again, they have decided to side with terrorists, before the liberty of those they injure, displace and murder.
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. Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, a proscribed terror organization, they work to legitimize 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 organization’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 called on Amnesty International to investigate its staff in Nigeria, alleging that they have gotten themselves involved in local politics and abandoned the task of defending human rights.
It vowed that the federal government will continue to fight terrorism without been distracted.
“Amnesty International has no legal right to exist in Nigeria. It must open a formal investigation into the personnel that occupy 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 Nigerian government will fight terrorism with all the means at its disposal. We will ignore Amnesty’s rantings. Especially when it comes from an organization that does not hold itself to the same standards it demands of others.””