Rights groups fault Amnesty’s report on armed forces
Amnesty International last week asked the president to investigate the activities of former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika , Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah and Chief of Naval Staff, Ola Saed Ibrahim claiming that they violated human rights in fighting Boko Haram in the North East.
HURIWA in a statement issued by its chairman, Emmanuel Onwubiko after a joint meeting in Abuja, accused AI of allowing itself to be used by certain political elements who it noted are witch hunting Ihejirika since he is allegedly been tipped for the National Security Adviser (NSA) slot.
Onwubiko in the statement wondered why AI singled out some top retired and serving military officers for indictment, stressing that the real war on terror started during the tenure of late President Umaru Yar’ Adua when the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf was extra judicially killed by the police.
He noted that in as much as the groups are not against any call for investigation, there must be a holistic investigation rather than singling out a particular group of officers as demanded by Al.
Also, the ‘Support Our Patriotic Generals’ made up of coalition of lawyers, activists and Nollywood actors, added that the authenticity of the video tapes on which the reports relied on were stage-managed, fake and not corroborated by independent sources and therefore cannot be credible.
But the coalition in a press conference addressed by the ex-Coordinator Lawyers’ Group Amnesty International, Nigeria and Director of Constitutional Watch, Aham Njoku, stressed that some of the persons the researchers interviewed before compiling the reports had political scores to settle with the former President Goodluck Jonathan- led administration.
The coalition, which queried the motive behind the reports, accused AI of double standards and urged the president not to act on the report as it was biased, unfounded and tainted to embarrass and decimate the Nigerian army.
According to the group, a potential trial of some Nigeria’s army chiefs at ICC is against the country’s security interest and would undermine the war against terrorism as the terrorists would become emboldened and make the soldiers to become demoralised.
It added that instead of AI sabotaging the anti-terror war in Nigeria, the global rights body should use its investigative skills to help identify the financiers and sponsors of Boko Haram and their sources of arms and ammunitions.
“Till date, despite killing over 15, 000 innocent and defenseless Nigerians in mosques, churches, schools, motor parks, shopping malls, no single Boko Haram member has been reported to the ICC for trial by AI,” the group added.
It continued: “AI and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal. Court at Hague appear set to apply double standards in their proceedings. For instance, in the war against terrorism, no American soldier was indicted by AI nor was any recommended for prosecution at the ICC for the extra-judicial killing of Osama Bin Laden. In fact the international community applauded the execution and congratulated President Obama.
“Also no American General has been tried since United States started using drones to kill terrorists with collateral damages which include the death of several innocent persons nearby”, the group added.