Posted by News Express | 16 February 2020 | 340 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has commended the Nigerian Army for its professionalism during last week's funeral of the parents of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in Afaraukwu, Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
It observed that apart from reports of the arrest by soldiers of some Jewish worshippers on their way to the burial ceremony, there was nothing untoward involving the Nigerian Army.
“Apart from that minor report, there seems to be not a lot more allegations brought forward by some residents of Abia State. There were no other negative reports from that burial that took place in Abia State.
“This is a very commendable step and we want to encourage the Nigerian Army to sustain this tempo of rights- based internal security operations across Nigeria.
“This Army Chief, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, is making his boss President Muhammadu Buhari proud by showing iconic leadership embedded in the finest military traditions of loyalty and faithfulness to the Nigerian Constitution. It is clear that the President must have asked the Nigerian Army to comply totally with best global practices,” HURIWA said.
The rights group implored the Nigerian military to find a way of cultivating working partnerships and relationships with international groups in Nigeria such as Amnesty International.
According to it, “Amnesty International is not a group that would undermine the territorial or national security of any nation, it is not possible because (there are) a lot of Nigerian members of Amnesty International.
“The misunderstanding between Amnesty International and the Nigerian military is not good and therefore an amicable solution and a way out of the friction must be found.
“We urge Amnesty International to avoid so much emphasis or dwelling so much on negative reports regarding the war on terror. If Nigeria is no more, there will be no space for Amnesty International to set up an operational office called the Nigerian office. It is in the self-enlightened interests of the well over 20,000 or more registered members of Amnesty International of Nigerian origin that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is sanctified and upheld.
“Amnesty International in Nigeria should not work at cross purposes with the Nigerian people because Nigerian members of Amnesty International will gain more as human rights activists should Nigeria regain national peace, tranquility and freedom from terrorists attacks.
“Nigeria is at war so all parties must not antagonise the overall national security interests of Nigeria. Amnesty International should be concerned more about the wellbeing of the victims of Boko Haram terrorism and not appear to be the advocates for the terrorists.”
HURIWA regretted that most of the reports that are released by Amnesty International are usually very damaging and tends to damage the integrity and respectability of the Nigerian Army and paints it as an army of occupation.
Said the rights group: “Maybe the organisation would benefit from an editorial reevaluation. If one is making allegations about a community that had been burnt, then there is a need for such writers to report the other side of the story to balance in order to ensure that all parties are carried along.
“No one is saying Amnesty International should cover up for the Nigerian Army but if you're reporting based on allegations and hearsay, you must also try to reflect the side of the institution you are talking about. If you want to complain that the Nigerian Army has killed one citizen illegally then you must endeavour to make provisions for the accused institution's perspective. That is what makes a report balanced, objective and fair.
“We at HURIWA are not comfortable as human rights activists that a group of people have formed a habit of going to the Amnesty International's Nigerian office to create a public disturbance.
“In as much as we are activists and support the right to civil protest, we should not allow Nigeria to get to a level where a certain organisation will be treated as an outcast. Amnesty International will never be an outcast because a lot of Nigerians are active members of Amnesty International.
“We are appealing to Amnesty International to reorganise their module and reporting style in order to reflect all sides and they must endeavour not to paint the impression that the Nigerian military is not professional, because they are. Nigerian Army is one of the best in the world.”
Reacting to the tenor of the response of the military to allegations of its human rights abuses, HURIWA stated that the Defence Headquarters spokesperson should be called to order because he speaks as if the organisation is a Boko Haram sponsor stressing that they are not.
“Amnesty International is a well-known, credible, global organisation with their head office in London. The Defence spokesperson should visit their office in London and witness how efficient and well organised they are. Amnesty International is not a group that can be used by any country to destabilise Nigeria because even in Britain this organisation observes and reports on issues that the British government face. Amnesty International is not a tool that can be used to destabilise Nigeria.
“We are not speaking on Amnesty International’s behalf, we are simply speaking on what we have observed. We have also pointed out their faults, particularly the way they write their reports on Nigeria.
“If you want to write on institutions that do not meet the human rights threshold in their internal security operations, then you must also give the accused a hearing chance in order to ultimately protect the rights of the citizens,” HURIWA said.
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