A group of 24 Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria has condemned what it described as “the recurrent breach of peace, brazen lack of patriotism, and absolute disregard for fundamental democratic values and principles of good governance by a malicious group that has persisted in threatening and issuing unjustified ultimatums to Amnesty International (AI) Nigeria to vacate the country”.
On Wednesday a group of protesters stormed AI office in Abuja, accusing it of plans to destabilise the country.
The pre-emptive protest hours before AI released a report on allegations of starvation and rape of women by soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in the North East .
Coordinator of the protest and National Convener of Civil Rights groups, Comrade Danesi Momoh, said the protesters were members of various civil rights groups adding “this is the beginning. We will continue to occupy Amnesty International until it gets out of our country. With the tenacity the NGO has shown in its bid to destroy Nigeria, we will not pull back like we did the last time. We have had enough of its destabilizing lies and we say, Amnesty International must leave now.”
But the group of 24 noted that AI was duly registered in the country with the mandate to protect and defend rights of the citizens, denouncing the recurring threats against the staff and facilities of AI in Nigeria.
The group, which includes Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Partners for Electoral Reforms (PER), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), and Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), adds: “We find it worrisome that rather than extending sincere support and solidarity to Amnesty International Nigeria in complementing the activities of credible civil society groups to enhance democratic values in the country, an unidentifiable mischievous group continues to engage in empty threats—a ridiculous attempt to frustrate efforts to protect human rights, and suppress civil society activities ostensibly to hamper the recurring demand for good governance.
“We are disturbed but not surprised at such clearly sponsored malicious moves by some individuals, hands gloved by an undemocratic group, to divert the attention of Amnesty International Nigeria, and other credible civil society groups from their progressive struggles to dig deep and uproot the persistent human rights abuses and violations in the country.
“Ironically, the on-going attack on Amnesty International Nigeria is a glaring endorsement of its stellar strides in the protection of human rights A pointer that their impactful work must be supported and sustained by all well-meaning Nigerians to enhance the rule of law, social equity, and justice.
“We call on the government to ensure adequate protection for the operatives and facilities of the Amnesty International Nigeria that are currently under vicious and persistent threats”.