Stop Harrassing Amnesty International, Falana Tells Nigerian Army

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Femi-Falana
  •  Report has vindicated Danjuma, says Jukun group

Sunday Okobi

A human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has asked the Nigerian Army to end “attack, harassment and intimidation of Amnesty International and focus instead on addressing the several allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses by the Army.”

This is coming as a socio-political and cultural group, Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN), has described the latest Amnesty International (AI) report indicting the Nigerian Army as accomplices in the killings by Fulani herdsmen as a vindication of one of the sons of Jukun, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd).

In a statement issued yesterday, Falana noted that, “the Nigerian military has also been indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Presidential Panel on Procurement of Arms and Ammunition, Judicial Commissions of Enquiry and the International Criminal Court (ICC) on gross human rights abuse and war crimes which are similar to the allegations documented by Amnesty International.”

Falana said, “I am very concerned that rather than telling Nigerians what they would do to address the very damaging allegations made by Amnesty International of grave human rights abuses against the Nigerian Army and other security agencies the Army is targeting Amnesty simply for working to hold the Army to account.”

“Contrary to the false claim of the Army, the Muhammadu Buhari government in 2016 instituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuses by the Nigerian Armed Forces in the North-east region and other parts of the country. The panel confirmed grave human rights abuses by the military. Unfortunately, the government has not been able to release the report. Further, the government has not released the White Paper on the panel’s findings.”

“The Nigerian Army killed 347 Shiites in Zaria in December 2015 under the pretext that there was a plot to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai. The Judicial Commission of Enquiry instituted by Governor Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna State dismissed the basis of the massacre and recommended the prosecution of the culprits. But as the indicted officers and the troops were not prosecuted for conspiracy and culpable homicide the Army again opened fire on another group of Shiites in Abuja in October 2018. At the end of the attack, 52 Shiites were killed in cold blood. Even though the soldiers who committed the reckless massacre in Abuja have been identified in a video they will not be brought to trial for now!”

“Last week, the Army did the same thing to UNICEF, an institution that is doing so much to protect the human rights of Nigerian children in difficult circumstances in the North-east region and across the country. We are not unaware that the Nigerian authorities did not like the recent report by UNICEF that 13.2 million Nigerian children are out of school, sadly the highest number in the world.”

According to the human rights lawyer, “the ICC has recently revealed that it received a total of 169 communications from Nigeria and its assessment has shown that security forces in Nigeria have committed war crimes varying from murder, torture, and intentionally attacking the civilian population”.

In another development, a socio-political and cultural group, Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN), has described the latest Amnesty International (AI) report indicting the Nigerian Army as accomplices in the killings by Fulani herdsmen as a vindication of one of the sons of Jukun, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd).

The association’s National President, Chief Benjamin Bako, stated this yesterday when he spoke with journalists in Lagos, adding that the AI report is a welcome development.

According to him, Danjuma and JDAN have been vindicated in the eye of the world that the allegations of “collusion by the Nigeria army and Fulani herdsmen in the wanton killings in the middle belt and some parts of Igbo land were very accurate after all.”

Bako described the former Defence Minister as “a man of proven high integrity and sound moral standards, who is not given to frivolities and doesn’t speak without proof.”

He further said: “As an elder statesman Danjuma’s intervention was to help the institution which has given him fame and prominence to rediscover itself thereby purging itself of bad elements that are bent on destroying the good reputation and excellent tradition of the military institution. Rather, Danjuma was called all manners of names and hunted like a commoner.”