Since when did the Nigerian Army become afraid of UNICEF?

UNICEF, Nigerian Army

On Friday, December 14, 2018,  the Nigerian Army through the theatre command, operation Lafiya Dole which co-ordinates its North East operations released a statement in which it announced the suspension of humanitarian activities by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF). The Army in the statement signed by its Lafiya Dole spokesman Col. Onyema Nwachukwu accused UNICEF of deliberately sabotaging its activities in the North East especially the war against the Boko-Haram sect.

The army stated that UNICEF have been spying and giving tacit support to Boko-Haram terrorists. Not done with that, the Military said UNICEF have started the training of a new set of terrorists and one of such training held at a Federal Ministry in Abuja. While the military has lifted the so-called ban, it is important to state that the training organized by UNICEF was to orientate citizens of the North East on how to prevent human right violations by the Military and not training on breeding terrorists.

This action of the military towards UNICEF is not the first of its kind in recent times. In May 2018, Amnesty International released a report in which it accused soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint task force of raping women and girls at IDP camps in the North East. Without investigating the claim of Amnesty International, the Military described the report as fictitious and malicious and the report is a means of engaging in falsehood by Amnesty International.

The parallel between the army statement on UNICEF and Amnesty is that the Military believes it can never be wrong and will rather brand any contrary against it as malicious and fictitious. This is the same way they react to Negative reports in daily newspapers about their activities. This constant branding of humanitarian groups as terrorists support groups by the Nigerian Army must stop forthwith. This is important as there must be check and balances by external bodies to prevent human right abuse by the military.


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