– Following the recent killing of pro-Biafra members by the Nigerian army, Amnesty International has released its Annual Report for 2016 to 2017 accusing the army of extra-judicial killings
– The group said Nigerian government using harsh, disproportionate measures to respond to legitimate security fears
– They also said more than 2 million people displaced by Boko Haram conflict need urgent humanitarian assistance
– They warned warned Nigeria about a ‘dangerous crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly’
Amnesty International has accused the Nigeria army of extra-judicial killings of more than 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protesters and unnecessary arrests of people.
The group in a press release titled ‘Politics of demonization breeding division and fear’ also accused President Buhari’s administration of crackdown of freedom of speech in it’s effort to combat terrorism in the country.
In a press release sent to NAIJ.com, the group’s report titled ‘The State of the World’s Human Rights’ and given by Isa Sanusi, Media Manager at Amnesty International Nigeria stated that “2016 was the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s”.
Sanusi said: “In Nigeria, we witnessed governments responding to legitimate dissent with extreme measures that had devastating impacts on the civic space.”
The report also alleged that: “In south-east Nigeria, security forces led by the military, embarked on a chilling campaign of arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. Many individuals are still being detained incommunicado while state security agents have killed at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protesters.
“In Nigeria’s north-east, the ongoing conflict between the Boko Haram armed group and the country’s security forces has affected more than 14 million people, with two million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
“The armed conflict drove millions from their homes, leaving them living in squalid conditions in camps under heavy military guard and without adequate access to food, water and medical care. Throughout the year, hundreds died in these camps because of malnutrition.”
Sanusi in his presentation said: “The north-east of Nigeria descended into a major humanitarian emergency as a consequence of the conflict and the atrocities committed by all parties to the conflict. Once again, it is the poorest and most vulnerable people who pay the price.
“The past year has also seen a disturbing rise in arrests and intimidation of media professionals and activists in Nigeria. At least ten journalists and bloggers were arrested in 2016, some for alleged connections to Boko Haram, in a crackdown that appears to have been orchestrated to suffocate freedom of expression.”
The report further claimed that the arrest of Premium Times journalists by the Nigerian army was a way to intimidate and silence journalists and media in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria army has however denied this allegation claiming that Amnesty reports are lies fabricated about Nigeria and its battle against the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Nigerian military said it acknowledges and respects the views and constructive criticism of individuals, groups or even international organisations including Amnesty International, it warned that it would not fall for nor accept the deliberate falsehood that have no bearing with the facts or realities on ground.
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