The Presidency has reacted to a report by Amnesty International (AI) which accused the Federal Government of using security forces’ to clamp down on members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), resulting in arbitrary arrests, detentions, disappearances and extrajudicial executions in the South East and Niger Delta of Nigeria.
Amnesty International in the report had said the whereabouts of at least 50 suspected members of IPOB arrested in Oyigbo, Rivers State, by Nigerian security were still unknown since October and November 2020.
But reacting, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, accused the human rights body of taking sides with PIOB, a designated terrorist group in Nigeria, before the liberty of those they injure, displace and murder.
“Speaking the language of universal human rights, Amnesty International deploys it only in defence – even outright promotion – of those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria. Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, a proscribed terror organisation, they work to legitimise its cause to Western audiences. This puts them in bad company. Controversial American lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the same, laundering IPOB’s reputation in Washington DC,” said Shehu.
“IPOB murder Nigerian citizens. They kill police officers and military personnel and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country. Were this group in a western country, you would not expect to hear Amnesty’s full-throated defence of their actions. Instead, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justification of western governments’ action to check the spread of terrorism.”
Shehu said the international NGO was being used as cover for the organisation’s local leaders to pursue their self-interests.
“Amnesty International has no legal right to exist in Nigeria. It must open a formal investigation into the personnel that occupy their Nigerian offices.”
Shehu said the Nigerian government will fight terrorism with all the means at its disposal and ignore Amnesty’s rantings.