We Won’t Stay Silent on Human Rights Violations in Nigeria, Says Amnesty International

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Tobi Soniyi

Amnesty International (AI) yesterday said it would not stop fighting injustice and holding governments accountable worldwide.

In its reaction to protesters who stormed its Abuja office asking it to leave Nigeria, Amnesty International said despite the protests, it would not stay silent.

 The statement reads: “Despite sponsored protests, we will not stay silent. In the face of efforts to evade responsibility or to smear our organisation, we will continue to raise our voices whenever and wherever we see injustice, sexual abuse, discrimination against women, or any other violations of human rights in Nigeria.”

AI described itself as a human rights organisation, not affiliated to any interests, political, religious or commercial.

“We have been working on Nigeria since 1967 – our role is to hold governments to their obligations to respect and protect human rights and to ensure that anyone whose rights are violated has an effective remedy,” the statement added.

AI again called on the Nigerian government to use its authority and resources to investigate all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including of rape, torture, arbitrary detentions and unlawful killings, to ensure reparation for the victims, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to ensure non-repetition of the violations.

 Also yesterday, 41 civil society organisations and concerned citizens from across the country issued a joint statement condemning the siege on AI’s office. The statement reads: “CSO groups and citizens condemned the lame tactic of using faceless groups and rented crowd by government agencies to harass, intimidate and hound Amnesty International Nigeria by occupying its offices for days, asking the group registered in Nigeria and manned by Nigerians to leave the country for exposing human rights atrocities by the military and security forces in the guise of fighting crime and insurgency.

“Later, the shameless participants in that orchestrated protest were captured in video fighting over the sharing of money given to them for their role as hatchet jobbers. Clearly, these were people who neither stood for nor were fighting for any noble cause but for their pockets.”

 They noted that despite a directive by the police restricting protests in Abuja, “this gang of hired protesters without a cause were allowed to breach this same directive without any consequence,” the statement added.