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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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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Jordan, Ibrahim Mohammed,(1st left) the Managing Director Ministry of Tourism and Antiquiies, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, (middle) Executive Secretary NCPC, Yakubu Pam (right) during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan recently

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Coalition Warns Anti-Vaxxers, Urges Nigerians To Disregard Fake News Of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

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The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy has urged Nigerians to treat reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca jab as fake news, noting that some elements are out to frustrate the ongoing vaccination exercise.

This follows the claim of blood vomit by a woman in Kaduna after allegedly being administered the vaccine.

While the state government has vowed to investigate the report, the National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy said the assertion is the handiwork of anti-vaxxers.

In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Samson Abu, on Saturday, the group, though, admitted potential side effects from the jab, added that some persons are out to sow fear in the minds of Nigerians.

Abu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to disregard all fake news pertaining to the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to him, the supposed victim is an isolated case yet to be proven by any expert.

The group, however, urged Nigerians to continue to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy is appalled by the deployment of fake news by anti-vaccine elements in Nigeria in their bid to scare and discourage people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is meant to protect against the Corona Virus and save lives.

The fake news, published with the headline “Woman vomits blood after taking COVID-19 vaccine” is a disingenuous attempt at creating a deepfake given the effort that was made to create the impression that one Hannatu Tanko was rushed to Gwamna Awan General Hospital in Kaduna State because she started vomiting blood after receiving the vaccine.

Interestingly, the same script was published by several blogs and a few undiscerning news sites without the publishers carrying out the necessary checks and without speaking with experts on what could have led to the woman’s condition.

The fake news also created the impression that there is coercion in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine whereas people are voluntarily accepting the jab owing to their knowledge of how it protects one from catching the deadly virus. Such a desperate act could have only resulted from people that are keen on seeing the pandemic decimate humanity.

With more than half a million so far vaccinated, even if the account of the woman experiencing reactions to the vaccine were correct, the case would be an isolated one and the fact that sources claimed the woman is recovering confirms that the vaccine is safe while any unintended effect would be at worst temporary. We, therefore, find it unacceptable that the isolated and unproven instance is now being used by purveyors of fake news and anti-Vaxxers to discourage Nigerians from taking the vaccine. This is a huge disservice and unacceptable.

For the avoidance of doubts, experts’ views are required to confirm that what a person experiences after taking the jab is related to the vaccine. To do this, the experts would have ruled out that the symptoms exhibited by such are not caused by other underlying factors that coincidentally flared up at about the same time the person took their vaccine.

The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy consequently warn detractors and anti-vaxxers in Nigeria that they have a responsibility to society to desist from sowing fear in the mind of the people especially when it is apparent that the fake news they are spreading has all the potential to hurt more people than save them.

We appeal to Nigerians to disregard all fake news about the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and only based their decision to accept the jab or not on sound science, which would make them appreciate the benefits it offers. Nigerians, who truly value their wellbeing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, should make it a personal responsibility to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them.

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