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Why Nigerians Want Amnesty International Out Of The Country

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A lot was expected from Amnesty International’s maiden foray into Nigeria in 2015. With its burgeoning global status, Africa’s most populous nation envisaged a new chapter in human rights violation. However, five years down the line, AI has underwhelmed, on its way out of the country.

Amnesty presented itself as the “messiah” on a rescue mission to Nigeria. Following the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the West African nation was gradually recuperating from the wreckage of the Boko Haram terrorists in the north. Far south, there was also the looming insurrection by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). At that point, any help whatsoever would be welcomed.

While admitting instant progress under the new administration, it alleged serious human rights violations. “Nigeria has achieved remarkable things – but serious violations continue, unpunished,” said Amnesty International Secretary-General, Salil Shetty. “In establishing a permanent base in Nigeria, we want to send a clear message: Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the victims of human rights violations, alongside the individuals and organizations already fighting abuses”.

Indeed, AI’s message was instant. The group’s adventure hit the rocks from the start. In a report published in January 2016, it immediately championed a campaign pushing for the legalisation of homosexuality. In a massively religious country where same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years imprisonment and the death penalty in states under Shari’a law, it was a mission in futility.

“The rights of LGBTI people continued to be curtailed,” AI wailed. “Human rights defenders reported a significant increase in the number of arrests of LGBTI people and police extortion. The Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights, a coalition of NGOs working on the rights of LGBTI people in Nigeria, cited over 200 cases across the country where people perceived to be LGBTI were beaten by mobs and handed over to the police”.

Amnesty then admitted war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram in the northeast. Despite this obvious catastrophe and even acknowledging “sustained offensive by the military”, nonetheless, the group accused the troops of using excessive force. It was like chiding a father for disciplining his wayward child.

It was early days, yet Nigerians already perceived bias. Amnesty International subsequently sympathized with separatists. The group lashed out at the Nigerian authorities over the arrest of IPOB’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu and Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky, the spiritual head of Iran-backed Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

Amnesty International’s scathing onslaught on the Nigerian government has not ceased. The group has maintained the same script, agenda and modus operandi, striking at the slightest instance.

The military has been worst hit. Each time troops appear to be gathering momentum on the war against Boko Haram terrorists, AI would show up with a damning report to dampen the progress in the guise of advocating for human rights and equality.

However, this penchant for falsehood and desperation to satisfy its paymasters reached an all-time low recently during the EndSARS movement. Without any tangible proof, AI alleged a ” massacre” in Lagos on October 20. The group said at least 12 persons were killed by the police and military in Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate, with hundreds injured. AI also claimed that CCTV cameras were dismantled to cover up the murder.

Desperate to stay relevant, Amnesty characteristically released this misleading report barely 24 hours later. Worse still, AI based its conclusion on “social media videos”. In all its supposed investigation, Amnesty is yet to admit that scores of police officers were killed by rampaging protesters with many injured in life-threatening conditions.

Nigerians are fed up and reckon that if nothing is done these slipshod reports could plunge the nation into anarchy. Recall that the arson and killings in Lagos and other parts of the country trailed Amnesty’s publication. While Nigerians wept, the group added to their war chest, trading on and merchandising their miseries.

Amnesty has unsuccessfully tried to build a presence in the developing world for decades. In 1977, senior Amnesty members and staff set a goal to “make Amnesty more universal especially by getting a ‘foothold’ in second and third worlds.” The group is suffering an unprecedented crisis, with substantial membership numbers and dues-paying members in decline.

Amnesty’s work around the world, particularly in conflict-affected countries, is highly under scrutiny and its officials are often accused of siding with the anti-establishment forces and supporting their attempt of regime change. It crosshairs with the governments of several countries and most, unlike Nigeria, are not patient.

Amnesty is unwanted guests in nations.  Nigeria is only its third national office models. The other two are in Brazil and India.  However, Amnesty has departed the Asian nation and could be om it’s way out of Brazil too.

In India, it cited unfounded and motivated allegations for the reason for exiting, something of a twist in fortune. “We are facing a rather unprecedented situation in India. Amnesty International India has been facing an onslaught of attacks, bullying and harassment by the government in a very systematic manner,” an official said.

Not only India, but several other countries are also upset with the activities of the supposed watchdog. Around 40 countries including Russia, Israel, Hungary, and Egypt have enacted stringent laws against NGOs. Even in America, there is a ban on the interference of any foreign institution in its domestic politics.

These days, though, when under immense pressure after making multiple false claims, AI resorts to a fake apology. It deploys this strategy to save its face and potentially hold on to its sponsors.

In December 2018, the group apologised to the Netherlands over a magazine that trivialized the suffering and trauma refugees have experienced fleeing their homes, particularly women. The group placed Bangladesh among countries currently facing a war or conflict and apologised after a backlash.

In May, Amnesty International accused the Ethiopian government of committing “grave violations between December 2018 and December 2019 in some parts of Amhara and Oromia regions”. Shamefully, the group apologised later, claiming to have posted it in error.

Nigerians may not be patient to wait for an apology. AI knows the door out.

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Lekki Shooting: CNN Carried Out A Hatchet Job On The Army – International Journalists

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The report by Cable News Network (CNN) on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos was a “poor” hatchet job targeted at the Nigerian Army, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIIJ) has said.

In an electronic statement signed by special rapporteur, Francois Deburoiche, on Wednesday, the IIIJ said it came to this conclusion following a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the toll gate.

After forensic analysis of CNN’s report, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism noted that there were some missing details in the American television channel’s piece.

According to the institute, the report was carried out in poor taste, lacking professionalism and objectivity. It added that the claim of use of live bullets and testimonies of victims were all tales.

The institute, however, advised the television channel to retract and admit error in the documentary.

Read the full statement below:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is issuing this press statement with the best of intents after a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria during the EndSARS protest.

A team of investigative journalists with extensive experience in conflict situation interrogated the various claims made by the American Cable News Network in its report on the Lekki Shootings and came up with a comprehensive analysis that found gaps that were not filled in the CNN documentation of the events at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

Our statement:

The CNN documentary on the EndSARS protest in Nigeria was released to the general public with lots of inaccuracies. These accuracies were detected after an extensive forensic investigation by the International Institute for Investigative Journalism.

It is thus our opinion that the report was carried out in the poor taste, lacking in professionalism and objectivity. This is a great betrayal on journalism by the CNN, which indeed violated the known tenets of journalism.

The videos and images used in the CNN report were not subjected to adequate scrutiny. Consequently, it lacked credibility for use by an organization of repute such as the CNN. This fact was also buttressed by the fact that the CNN report was very hasty in its conclusion by indicting the Nigerian Army of culpability in the events at the Lekki Tollgate.

Our position remains that the CNN erred substantially in its report that was highly misleading to the general public in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The documentary also failed woefully to highlight the events that led to the reign of violence in parts of Lagos state but instead rehashed the issues under different subheadings with minimal evidence that indicts the Nigerian Army of wrongdoing at the Lekki Tollgate.

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism concludes that the CNN documentary was prejudiced in its analysis as well as presentation which fall nothing short of a poor hatchet job with the undeniable intent to discredit the Nigerian Army operation at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

The analysis by CNN in the documentary was hasty in its categorization with regards to the use of live bullets by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate. The report attempted to portray the use of excessive force by soldiers, while the accompanying videos and images did not depict such.

The credibility of those interviewed in the documentary was also suspect with the choice of words and the facial and body expressions of the victims as well as their relatives. Thus much was revealed by forensic analysis as the emotions portrayed didn’t match their words.

Conclusion:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is of the considered opinion that the CNN carried out a hatchet job that is targeted at the Nigerian Army institution. We as a result of this classify the CNN documentary as highly misleading and with the capacity to cause disquiet in Nigeria.

The CNN must retract and admit error in submission in its documentary on the Lekki Tollgate shootings. The International Institute for Investigative Journalism faults the CNN documentary in all ramifications.

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Why Army is Boosting Land Power, Buratai Speaks at War College Lecture

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has said that the Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) has continued to churn out highly-capable operational commanders, with a very good understanding of operational art and the requisite skills for the effective application of land power.

Buratai, was the special guest of honour at the ‘Graduation Lecture’ of Course 4/2020, in Abuja. The COAS, who had earlier commissioned the War College Office Extension Building, further said the building is made up of offices, Central Auditorium with 450 seating capacity, a lecture hall and a lounge with 180 and 120 seating capacity, respectively.

According to Lt. Gen. Buratai, the War College was conceived to address the observed gaps in the professional military education of Army’s personnel at operational level. The Commandant of AWCN, Maj. Gen. SE Udounwa, expressed gratitude to the Army Chief for tirelessly supporting the College, especially in the area of infrastructural development.

The AWCN was established in 2017 to bridge the gap between the tactical and strategic level training by producing well trained, educated and inspired operational level leaders for the Nigerian Army.

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JUST IN: NLC, TUC Stage Walk Out From Meeting With FG

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Labour union representatives on Sunday staged a walk-out from a meeting with the federal government, barely five minutes after it started.

According to the president of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, on the meeting’s top agenda were the issues surrounding the hike in the price of fuel and electricity tariffs, not issues of palliatives.

In his opening remarks before the closed-door session, Olaleye accused the federal government of dishonesty, playing to the gallery and painting the organised labour in a bad light before civil servants and the public.

Representing the Nigerian Labour Congress was its deputy president, Najeem Yasin.

“This meeting is not going to be as usual,” Olaleye told news men. “Why, because we have seen the insincerity of government and it’s putting us at risk. They are taking us for a ride, which cannot continue.

“We are in the process of discussing, for over three months now. And they made announcement increasing the fuel price again. And no other person than NNPC. When has authority been giving to NNPC to increase the price of PMS? This is unacceptable.

“The meeting agenda is not well prioritised. And because of that, we are leaving the meeting. We will not continue, we will go back to our organ, and we are going to get back to you on the next line of action.”

In attendance from the federal government were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timiprye Sylva, Minister of state for power, Goddy Agba and the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha.

“We felt that the item of increase in PMS, having been listed at all as an additional item, would have satisfied everybody,” labour minister, Ngige said after the walkout.

More to come…

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