By Linus Aleke
*Threatens to shut down Nigerian office if…
Nigerian Army has warned Nigerians be wary of activities and smear campaign of Amnesty International (Nigeria) against Nigerian military, alleging that “Its goals are to destabilise Nigeria and to dismember it”.
Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman who made this accusation in a statement in Abuja, also threatened to shut down its Nigerian office, saying “The Nigerian Army has no option than to call for the closure of Amnesty International offices in Nigeria, if such recklessness continues”.
While, pre-empting the yet to be released report of the International Human Right Watchdog, Nigerian Army said, “The NGO is at the verge of releasing yet another concocted report against the military, ostensibly against the Nigerian Army”.
Brigadier General Usman said, “The Nigerian branch of Amnesty International that has hitherto been well respected has deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the original Amnesty International domiciled in the United Kingdom.
There is credible information that the Nigerian branch of the International Non-governmental Organisation is determined to destabilise the Nigerian nation. This is noted through fabrication of fictitious allegations of alleged human rights abuses against the Nigerian security forces and clandestine sponsorship of dissident groups to protest, as well as unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military”.
The Army further observes that Amnesty International-Nigeria have tried over the years using Boko Haram terrorists’ conflicts, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some activists and now herders-farmers conflicts to destabilize Nigeria.
Only recently, the Nigerian Army accused UNICEF of espionage against the Nigerian troops in north east and subsequently suspends its operation in the region.
Deputy Director Public Relations Theatre Command, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu who announced the suspension order in a statement explained that “The Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole has observed with dismay that some of the activities of International humanitarian agencies and Non-governmental organisations’ operating in the North East have left so much to be desired. There is credible information that some of them are indulging in unwholesome practices that could further jeopardise the fight against terrorism and insurgency, as they train and deploy spies who support the insurgents and their sympathisers.
“It is baffling to note that some of these organizations have been playing the terrorists’ script with the aim to continue demoralizing the troops who are doing so much to protect the lives of victims of Boko Haram Terrorism and safe guard them from wanton destruction of property and means the of livelihood. The Theatre Command considers the actions of these organizations as a direct assault and insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians, as they tend to benefit more from expanding the reign of terror on our people.
“Consequently, the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole is suspending the operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North East theatre until further notice. This has become inevitable since the organization has abdicated its primary duty of catering for the wellbeing of children and the vulnerable through humanitarian activities and now engaged in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter terrorism and Counter insurgency efforts of troops through spurious and unconfirmed allegations bothering on alleged violations of human rights by the military”.
Information within the reach of this Command he said specifically indicates that the organization commenced the said training on Wednesday 12 December 2018 at the Ministry of Finance Conference Hall, Musa Usman Secretariat, Maiduguri and ended on 13 Thursday December 2018.
Colonel Nwachukwu said that the Theatre command will not tolerate this kind of sabotage from any individual, group of persons or organisation, while calling on all NGOs and members of humanitarian agencies to keep to their legitimate norms in the discharge of their acclaimed humanitarian duties.
However, the Army in another statement within 24 hours of the suspension order lifted it saying “Sequel to intervention by well meaning and concerned Nigerians over the recent suspension of UNICEF operations in the North East theatre of operations, the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole convened and held an emergency meeting with representatives of UNICEF this evening.
“During the meeting, the Theatre Command admonished the representatives of the organization to desist from activities inimical to Nigeria’s national security and capable of undermining ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency. The Command also urged UNICEF representatives to ensure they share information with relevant authorities whenever induction or training of new staff is being conducted in the theatre”.
Recall that the duo of Amnesty International and Transparency International had persistently been a thorn in the flesh of Nigerian military through its negative report of human right abuses by Nigerian military in the theatre of operations.