The Nigerian military says the claims of military involvement in extra-judicial killings by an international human rights group, Amnesty International, is a continuation of blackmail against the military hierarchy.
The group had asked the new President, Muhammadu Buhari, to investigate Senior Military officials for complicity in the extra judicial killing of over 8,000 people in the north-east.
But the Defence Headquarters in a statement on Wednesday denied the allegation, expressing disappointment in what it called gruesome allegations made by the Amnesty International against some senior officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces both serving and retired.
Continuation Of Blackmail
“It is unfortunate that all effort made in the allegation was geared towards continuation of blackmail against the military hierarchy in which the organisation had embarked upon as far back as the inception of military’s action against terrorist in the North East.
“The officers mentioned in the report have no reason, whatsoever, to indulge in the allegation made against them.
“It is unfortunate that the organisation just went out to gather names of specified senior officers, in a calculated attempt to rubbish their reputation as well as the image of the military,” the statement issued by military spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade read.
The military said the action, no doubt, depicts more of a premeditated indictment aimed at discrediting the country for whatever purpose.
Each of the previous allegations by the rights group had been responded to by the military, with outright denial of the claims.
“The title down to the body of the allegation smacks of the extreme bias, which is disturbing coming from an otherwise reputable organisation that is expected to be Just and fair to all.
“Unfortunately in this case, has taken a premeditated position, which is far from noble.
“It is curious that a body that has never been able to seriously condemn terror in Nigeria now claims to have done an extensive research with the aim of discrediting the nation’s effort at curtailing terror.
“It is clear that Amnesty International (AI) becomes more active in presenting distractive allegations whenever the terrorists are losing ground in the battle.
“It is very unfortunate that Amnesty International has used this report to further confirm its questionable interest in the counter-terrorism effort in Nigeria,” the military stated.
After such claims were made months ago, a Joint Investigation Team was set up by the Defence Headquarters as part of efforts to ensure that no detainee suffered unjustly.
According to the military, the detention facilities were thrown open for visits and inspections by independent bodies such as International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international organisations and personalities.
“Biased And Concocted Report”
The Defence Headquarters further urged Amnesty International to stop playing “the role of an irritant coming up loudly only when the terrorists are losing out and remaining silent or complacent whenever the terrorist heightens its atrocities”.
“It is unfair to persist in effort to discredit Nigerian military by seeking all avenues to stigmatise individual officers of the nation’s military purely to satisfy an agenda against the security agencies and image of Nigeria before the international community.
“The Nigerian Armed Forces is quite conscious of the fact that the operation has prompted the need to save citizens from abuse of their rights by mindless terrorists,” the statement further read.
The military also described as unfortunate the decision by Amnesty International to ignore all the responses and clarifications provided to its enquires by the authorities and rejected what it called “the biased and concocted report provided by Amnesty International”.