Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has asked the Nigerian Army to end “attack, harassment and intimidation of Amnesty International (AI) and focus instead on addressing the several allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses by the Army.”
The Army had on Tuesday said it would make a case for the closure of Amnesty International offices in Nigeria, alleging the human rights group “is working hard to destabilise the country.”
Falana, in a statement in Lagos yesterday, said: “The Nigerian military has also been indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Presidential Panel on Procurement of Arms and Ammunition, Judicial Commission of Enquiry and the International Criminal Court (ICC) on gross human rights abuse and war crimes which are similar to the allegations documented by Amnesty International.
“I am very concerned that rather than telling Nigerians what they would do to address the very damaging allegations made by Amnesty International against the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, the Army is targeting Amnesty simply for working to hold the Army to account.
“The Army should accept responsibility and allow Amnesty International to carry out its human rights work. Stigmatising and maligning the very organisations that stand for human rights would be inconsistent with Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international law, and portray the Army as attempting to cover up the allegations.”
Meanwhile, a socio-political and cultural group, Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN), has described the latest AI’s report indicting the Nigerian Army as accomplices in the killings and destructions by Fulani herdsmen as a vindication of earlier warnings by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd).
The association’s National President, Chief Benjamin Bako, who spoke with newsmen in Lagos, said the report was a welcome development.
According to him, “Gen. T.Y. Danjuma and JDAN have been vindicated that the allegations of “collusion by the Nigerian Army and Fulani herdsmen in the wanton killings in the Middle Belt and parts of Igbo land was very accurate after all.”
Bako, who described Danjuma as “a man of proven high integrity and sound moral standards,” said: “As an elder statesman, Gen. Danjuma’s intervention was to help the institution, which has given him fame and prominence to rediscover itself thereby purging itself of bad elements that are bent on destroying the good reputation and excellent tradition of the military institution. Rather, Gen. Danjuma was called all manners of names and hunted like a commoner.”
This piece written by Bertram Nwannekanma in The Guardian of 20 December 2018