by Dolapo Adelana
The Nigerian military has accused human rights body Amnesty International (AI) of bandying lies and concocted stories over its allegations that soldiers killed 150 pro-Biafra agitators.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, the military said the agency was in the habit of supporting enemies of the state.
“The report recently published by the Amnesty International (AI) alleging death of 240 people including babies in Borno and 177 pro Biafran agitators, is yet another in its series of spurious fabrications aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Nigerian military. Without mincing words, the allegations contained in the said report are not only inconceivable but has no place in the Nigerian military. The report is rather contrived lies orchestrated to blackmail and ridicule the Nigerian Armed Forces which they have unsuccessfully tried to do in the past,” the statement said.
“It is on record that Amnesty International embarked on such series of false allegations against the Nigerian military and other security forces as far back as the inception of the military action against terrorists in the North East. Amnesty International would only encourage activities of non-state actors who take up arms against the state, killing, maiming and destroying public property but would always accuse security forces who are sacrificing everything to restore peace and normalcy.
“In as much as the Nigerian military acknowledges and respects the views and constructive criticism of individuals, groups or even international organisations including Amnesty International, it will not fall for nor accept the deliberate falsehood that have no bearing with the fact or reality on ground. The truth is that the Nigerian military has always been open in its operations and do not hide its activities from the probing eye of the public. Amnesty International chose to bandy fabricated reports and concocted stories instead of seeking clarifications from the relevant authorities. The Defence Headquarters run an open door policy in terms of information on its activities in the north east or elsewhere and is ever ready to provide clarifications on any issue. On a number of times the National Human Rights Commission had sent its delegation to seek clarification on issues they are not comfortable with, and in each occasion, the DHQ always oblige them with the information they sought. AI would rather contrive their report to suit their intention which is to cast slur on the image and integrity of the Nigerian military. It smacks of mischief for the AI to insist on publishing unverified and unsubstantiated report as it is only them that knows why it embark on such dishonourable venture over a period of time.
“The Nigerian military rejects this AI reports in its entirety and appeals to all well meaning Nigerians to disregard the report and discountenance its contents as they were meant to paint Nigeria in bad light. We reassure our citizens of our commitment to terminate these myriads of security challenges facing our country, mindless of unfounded reports and cheap blackmail by AI.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.