By Terka Jam
Typically, Amnesty International (AI) has issued a release calling for thorough investigation into the incident of the Army/Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) that took place in December 2015. Its press release is largely based on presentations at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to look into the matter. It latched onto the testimony by the Secretary to (Kaduna) State Government (SSG), Balarabe Lawal to arrive at its jaundiced conclusions, which left it crying more than the bereaved.
More horrific than the events of December 2015 is the fact that AI issued its release, which amounted to a preliminary report; even as it acknowledged that it had not concluded its “research”. This is wrong and unacceptable. Amnesty International clearly proved by this act that it is not just an agent of confusion but in addition was planted to distort the coherence of every sovereign nation while undermining their laws. According to Justice Kayode Eso, JSC, (as he then was), “Justice is not a one way traffic affair neither is it a two way traffic affair but a three way traffic: justice to the plaintiff, to the defendants and justice to the general public.”
Sadly however, AI, in the judgemental press release, without any investigation into the matter, had set a standard for itself that the Nigerian Army must be demonised to protect the investments of its paymasters in Nigeria and the rest of the world. It wants to propagate a narrative to us that the life of over 180 million persons is not important. It is telling us that our symbol of national unity and the life of the Chief Army Staff (COAS) with those of officers and men on his entourage are not important when compared to those of radicalised and armed fanatics who have been indoctrinated and drugged to destabilise our country.
Just recently, a Major in the Nigerian Army and soldiers were killed while going about their official assignment in the Niger Delta region; 87 security officers were murdered at Eggon, Nassarawa State sometimes ago; and recently a Colonel was kidnapped and killed. Who wielded the kind of “cutlasses and brooms” that the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria had attacked the Chief of Army Staff with? The question becomes pertinent when one appreciates the vehemence with which IMN members have been painted in saintly words as if the COAS wouldn’t be part of the statistics of officers and men killed by fanatics if reactions had not been prompt.
The AI’s narrative suggests that accepting to serve one’s country is now a death sentence that rules out the instinctive response of self-defence in the face of mortal threats because such persons have no right to life. NO. We dare to say NO to Amnesty International and their collaborators that whoever has come to undermine our collective will shall be resisted with our blood; we dare to say never again shall we allow any person or group of persons to subject us to the inhuman treatment, barbaric and degradation that Boko Haram terrorists took us through. We will not allow AI, or any other affiliates it may opt to speak through, to cow us into allowing IMN radicalise and militarise to the point of replacing Boko Haram.
Nigerians remain firm and committed to our nationhood, Amnesty International can only brainwash those that do not know its true mission in Nigeria. It had attempted to cheaply boost its credibility by initially praising Nigeria for not recording any execution over a stated period of time; apparently this was to create the argument that its favourable report was accepted while the critical one is condemned. Such a cheap trick! Overall, the AI report is biased and part of a larger plan to undermine Nigeria’s sovereignty and an attempt to cow the Nigerian government not to be able to defend itself against insurgency so that the earlier evil projection that the country will disintegrate would be realised.
We want to know where the AI was all along when the residents of Zaria lived under IMN’s tyranny. It is an unusual coincidence that this contractor has not been able to trawl up one person, just one person to recount what life was like under IMN’s occupation of the city. The AI should tell the world what its take is on the series of threat videos as well as those showing IMN members in combat training and explain how these clips relate to the relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution that every serving soldier swore to protect.
Undoubtedly, AI is rehashing the strategy it used to plunge Iraq and other some Arab countries into intractable crises (by highlighting sectarian differences to the point of causing strife). Are the Agatu killed by rampaging “herdsmen” less important that AI is not headlining their plight with the same intensity? This so called NGO’s objective goes beyond human rights and it would be great if it can come clean about which of the war entrepreneurs is sponsoring its latest venture. Every single sentence in its press release is apparently geared towards sparking off sectarian violence. It had successfully done it in countries that have been destabilised on the strength of doctored reports.
We should similarly question how the burials of the casualties from the incident can be secret when it was a state official, whose state is part of Nigeria that voluntarily provided the information. Is Kaduna State now a foreign entity to Nigeria or are the brains behind AI in Nigeria forgetting that the state remains part of this country? Is creating schism between federating states and the Federal Government now part of AI’s brief in addition to fanning the embers of sectarian tensions? AI betrayed its neutrality by the reported comments of its country director in Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim, who by the way should make a fair disclosure of his sectarian affiliation.
The organisation was calling for a ‘thorough’ investigation as if the inquiries by both chambers of the National Assembly, National Human Rights Commission, Kaduna State Government, Nigerian Bar Association and others were not enough. It should stop jumping the gun and wait for the reports of the various inquiries.
This same AI had questioned the impartiality of the commission set up by the Kaduna State Government but now there is no longer doubt that the government meant well with the panel. AI is now quoting the report of the same commission it once questioned its impartiality.
The sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains supreme and Amnesty International will not become the proxy that will hijack the affairs of the country for some overlords. Someone should please pass this note to Amnesty International: Nigeria is a sovereign nation.
*Jam is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.