Army-Shiite clash: Group faults amnesty’s report

armyA civil society group, Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency (CESJET), has faulted the report of Amnesty International (AI) on the Army-Shiite clash in Zaria, Kaduna State late last year, describing it as gross misrepresentation of facts and an attempt to incite sectarian crisis that could snowball into a full blown conflict.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, CESJET executive secretary, Ikpa Isaac, condemned the AI report, saying it is a despicable attempt to destabilise Nigeria by undermining critical institutions.

He, therefore, said Nigerians must all unite to demand that AI’s intrusion in Nigeria’s affairs stop forthwith.

The rights groups also called for the probe of AI’s Country Director, the Kano State-born, but Zaria educated former career diplomat, who was an official of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and a diplomat in Libya, Mohammed K. Ibrahim, to determine if he has affiliations to Islamic fundamentalism.

According to Isaac, the report is another futile attempt to divert attention from the many atrocities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), which AI has fruitlessly attempted to defend in the past.

He described the report as a deliberate and concerted effort by AI to portray Nigeria in bad light, adding that anyone that has been following public discourse on the Zaria incident would see that some lines in the report were taken straight out of the articles that IMN sympathisers had written to hijack the narrative of what the real problem is.

“Despite its criminal intent, one must acknowledge that AI unwittingly mentioned a fact here.”

“The people holed up with the extremists inside the compound got repeated entreaties from the Army to come out, but they refused. This speaks volumes; it depicts the mentality of those who have been brainwashed to the point of hearkening to their manipulators while disregarding state institutions.

“Note that the compound has its own medical facility, which AI played smart to describe as makeshift. Why should an individual have a medical facility and a “mortuary?” What else lies inside that compound: a guards’ station, detention cell and armoury?”

“The self-contained nature of this compound should raise questions for the discerning mind, since this is a sect that has disavowed the Nigerian state and runs a parallel government with cells scattered nationwide.”

He questioned AI’s roles in destabilising Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and some other countries, adding that the group used this same strategy of masquerading as human rights organisation to highlight sectarian, ethnic and other differences that the people were originally unaware of, to an extent of sparking crises that consumed these countries.

He said: “It is repeating this tired strategy of pitching Shia against Sunni and people of other faiths without bothering to place the disclaimer that IMN is an aberration working for foreign influence to terrorise Nigeria.

“We will not allow AI to make Nigeria its latest stop for the deaths it successfully plied in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the former Yugoslavia, where it persistently called for humanitarian intervention that has now been proven to be the code word for invasions.”

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