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Amnesty International exposes the lies of the Buhari administration

Amnesty International published a report (“They betrayed us”) on Thursday 24 May about the rape by the Nigerian military of women who survived Boko Haram.

The Nigerian military were quick on the draw in denial.  A statement signed by Brigadier-General John Agim, Acting Director of Defence Information said: “In times like this, Amnesty International is expected to apply the natural law of liaison by working with security agencies as partners. This would have been the best way to ensure that insurgency and crisis is completely wiped off rather than engaging in falsehood, maligning the military and painting her in bad light at any slight opportunity.

“The Nigerian Military wishes to use this medium to reiterate her commitment to the citizens of our dear nation, that it will abide by all Human Rights Regulations as entered into by Nigeria and also go the extra mile in ensuring that the territorial integrity of our nation is well protected.

“However, the Nigerian Military admonishes AI to desist from cooking reports from time to time to demoralize the entire military system and the nation as a whole whose troops are sacrificing their lives in the fight against Boko Haram and other enemies of the country.

“These false reports which are capable of derailing the good work being done by our patriotic and selfless soldiers must stop. “Kindly note that we are not in any way implying that AI should not do their job, but such must be done with a level of integrity and credibility by seeking clarification when the need arises.

“This way a lot will be achieved as both will form partners in the fight against extremism and other vices. The Defence Headquarters therefore, urge all law abiding citizens to continue to trust and support the military in the ongoing war against Boko Haram and go about their normal lawful business.”

President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu was also in denial mode: “Engagement was claimed to have been made with Nigerian authorities but which authority is it, is not provided with clarity.

“This then is just a wild goose chase report, in essence.

“In some breath, the report seemed like the one in 2015, and the one in 2016, and the one after that year, the same things being recycled again and again.

“It ignores the fact of the existing mechanisms put in place by the military, as a self-correcting step and the high-level committee constituted by the Presidency to examine any such claims..”

Garba Shehu in denial

It doesn’t appear like Shehu bothered to read the report. Page 15 clearly stated: “In February 2018, Amnesty International contacted Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Abubakar Malami San, the Federal Minister of Justice, Ayoade Alakija, the Chief Humanitarian Coordinator in the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum, the Inspector General of the Police, Fanta Baba Shehu, the Borno Minister for Women’s Affairs, and Kashim Shettima, the Borno State Governor. The organization shared a summary of the report findings and asked for information on a number of concerns raised. In three instances, the request for information was issued in line with the Nigerian Freedom of Information Act. As of 1 May 2018, no responses had been received.”

If the same things are being “recycled”, maybe its because they are still happening and the authorities are doing nothing about it.  This inaction is quite clear from an Amnesty International tweet today:

The Presidency tweeted in 2016:

That panel was meant to have finalised a report in February this year.  Nothing was heard of this report since.  Amnesty International said in its report: “The federal government must ensure accountability for the violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and the possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by soldiers and Civilian JTF [Joint Task Force] members. As a first step, they should release the report of the Presidential Investigation Panel that reviewed compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations, which was reportedly finalised in February 2018, and implement its recommendations in a transparent manner. In addition to bringing those responsible for violations to justice, they must also establish a reparations
program, in consultation with civil society and affected communities, with special consideration given to the
violations women have faced and the forms of reparation that would be accessible and meaningful to them.”

Denial seems to be the choice of the Nigerian government instead of meaningful action to end human rights abuses by the military.  This was summed up in another Amnesty International tweet:

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