Amnesty International Condemns Sanusi’s Dethronement, Banishment

 

Amnesty International has condemned the dethronement of the former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the group faulted the decision to banish the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) after he was dethroned.

“Amnesty International calls on Nigerian authorities to respect the human rights of former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II; his right to dignity, freedom of expression and freedom of movement,” it said.

According to the group, restricting Sanusi and placing him incommunicado is against his human rights as protected under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights law.

It, therefore, asked the authorities to ensure they respect and protect the fundamental human rights of the former Emir, in accordance with the rule of law.

Amnesty International tweeted a day after the Kano State government removed Sanusi as the Emir of Kano.

The former Emir was also banished to Loko development area of Nasarawa State but was later relocated to Awe Local Government Area of the state.

Moments later, the government announced the former Emir of Bichi Emirate, Aminu Ado Bayero, as the new Emir of Kano, while Nasiru Ado Bayero was appointed as the new Emir of Bichi.

The Secretary to the Kano State Government, Usman Alhaji, who announced Sanusi’s removal explained that the decision was taken as a result of the former Emir’s consistent refusal to abide by instructions given to him.

The removal is said to be in line with the recommendation of the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission which summoned the deposed Emir.

Sanusi was accused of obstructing the investigation of the commission. The commission had asked him to respond to a petition accusing him of selling lands belonging to the Kano Emirate to the tune of N2billion.

Sanusi, however, secured a restriction order from a court to stop the commission from investigating him.

Amnesty Must ‘End Its Reckless Distortion Of Facts’, Military Reacts

 

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has responded to the allegation that troops deployed in the North East razed some villages in Borno State.

The Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, dismissed the claim by Amnesty International in an interview with Channels Television on Friday.

Rather, he accused the human rights group of frustrating the effort of the military in restoring peace to the troubled region.

READ ALSO: Amnesty Accuses Nigerian Military Of Burning Villages In Borno

The DHQ spokesman warned Amnesty International to stop what he described as “its reckless distortion of facts in its desperate bid to satisfy its puppeteers.”

According to him, Nigeria is at war against terrorism but the group is undermining the campaign by the military against insurgency in the region.

Earlier, Amnesty International that security forces set villages on fire and displaced residents of the affected villagers in response to escalation in attacks by Boko Haram insurgents recently.

It said its facts were drawn from interviews with affected villagers and satellite data analysis, but the military accused the group of targeting troops to support terrorists.

Read the full statement issued below:

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TARGETING NIGERIAN MILITARY IN SUPPORT OF TERRORISTS

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has taken cognizance of yet another falsified report by Amnesty International (AI) in a campaign of calumny targeting the Nigerian Military and deliberately supporting the callous acts of terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).

This inglorious campaign is contained in a recent report alleging the employment of unlawful tactics of razing down villages and unlawful detention of locals by troops.

This is line with the AI’s usual mannerism and tenacious efforts aimed at disparaging the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).

The Defence Headquarters wishes to state unambiguously that the allegations being touted by AI are nothing but a betrayal of its lack of in-depth knowledge of the goings-on in the North East (NE) theatre of operation.

It is expedient to state that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole who are conducting Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency Operations in the NE do not employ arson as an operational tactic.

It is a well-known fact, going by the modus operandi of BHTs, that they have more often than not engaged in the atrocious acts of looting and burning of villages, as well as destroying infrastructures.

It, therefore, beats one’s imagination that AI is attributing these atrocities to AFN troops who are legitimately defending the country guided by extant rules of engagement and operational codes of conduct.

AI must understand the fact that Nigeria is at war against terrorism in the NE and that the troops have a constitutional mandate to protect lives and property, even if it means conducting an evacuation to save and secure lives of civilians in the conflict.

Protecting civilians by evacuating them from the line of fire during combat is not a violation of the international law of conflict or a war crime.

It is rather a commendable effort by the troops to prevent collateral damage during combat.

Our troops should, therefore, be commended for making deliberate efforts to evacuate civilians in order to protect their lives and property.

It is also crucial to point out, that troops deployed to fight terrorism in the NE do not attack or raze down villages, communities or settlements, rather they launch offensive on terrorists’ camps, enclaves and hideouts.

Based on actionable intelligence, persons who provide logistics and other forms of support to the terrorists are arrested and subjected to a thorough investigation by a combined team of professionals drawn from the intelligence community of the Armed Forces and other security agencies.

Anyone not found culpable is not held in custody for further investigations.

AI must, therefore, put an end to its reckless distortion of facts in its desperate bid to satisfy its puppeteers by undermining Nigeria’s Military campaign against terrorism in the NE.

We urge members of the public to please discountenance AI’s report, as it is not a true and realistic reflection of troops’ counter-terrorism operation in the NE.

ONYEMA NWACHUKWU

Brigadier General

Acting Director, Defence Information

Amnesty Accuses Nigerian Military Of Burning Villages In Borno


Human rights group, Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of burning some villages in Borno, one of the worst-hit states by the insurgency in the North East.

In a statement sent to Channels Television on Friday, it also alleged that security forces displaced residents of the affected villages in response to escalation in attacks by Boko Haram insurgents recently.

Although military authorities denied the allegations, the human rights group said its facts were drawn from interviews with affected villagers and satellite data analysis.

READ ALSO: Amnesty Must ‘End Its Reckless Distortion Of Facts’, Military Reacts

It noted that the insurgents have heightened their activities in the region since December 2019, especially along the major road linking the Borno State capital – Maiduguri with Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State.

Read the full statement from Amnesty International below:

The Nigerian military has burned and forcibly displaced entire villages in response to a recent escalation in attacks by the armed group Boko Haram, Amnesty International said today, based on interviews with affected villagers in Borno State and satellite data analysis.

The military also arbitrarily detained six men from the displaced villages, continuing a pattern of violations Amnesty International has documented throughout the country’s decade-long armed conflict in the northeast.

The men were held incommunicado for almost a month and subjected to ill-treatment, before their release on 30 January 2020.

“These brazen acts of razing entire villages, deliberately destroying civilian homes and forcibly displacing their inhabitants with no imperative military grounds, should be investigated as possible war crimes,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“They repeat a longstanding pattern of the Nigerian military meting out brutal tactics against the civilian population. Forces allegedly responsible for such violations must be suspended immediately and brought to justice.”

 

Unlawful Tactics

From December 2019, Boko Haram has increasingly carried out attacks in north-eastern Nigeria, particularly along the important road between Maiduguri and Damaturu, the capitals of Borno and Yobe States.

A recent Amnesty International research mission to Borno State shows that, in response to the attacks, the Nigerian military has resorted to unlawful tactics that have had a devastating effect on civilians and may amount to war crimes.

Amnesty International interviewed 12 women and men forced to flee their homes on 3 and 4 January 2020 from three villages near the Maiduguri-Damaturu road, between Jakana and Mainok in Borno State.

The organisation also reviewed fire data from remote satellite sensing, which indicates several large fires burning on and around 3 January in that area.

Satellite imagery of Bukarti, Ngariri, and Matiri shows almost every structure was razed. The imagery also shows signs of burning in neighbouring villages.

Residents from Bukarti consistently described to Amnesty International scores of Nigerian soldiers arriving during the late morning of Friday 3 January.

They said soldiers went house to house and to surrounding farmland, forcing everyone to gather under a tree and by a graveyard between Bukarti and the main road.

Soldiers also rounded up people from neighbouring Matiri and brought them to the same area.

 

Villages Torched

Around 3 pm on 3 January, soldiers demanded everyone walk to the main road, where the villagers were forced to board large trucks. Witnesses said that, as they were loaded into the trucks, some of the soldiers returned to Bukarti. The witnesses then saw their village burning.

“We saw our houses go into flames,” recalled a woman, around 70 years old, from Bukarti. “We all started crying.”

The trucks then took more than 400 women, men, and children from Bukarti and Matiri to an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp near Maiduguri.

The next day, on 4 January, soldiers went to Ngariri, a village across the main road from Bukarti, according to three residents of Ngariri.

Soldiers assembled primarily older women and men, as younger adults had already fled to surrounding farmland, and forced them aboard a truck that took them to Maiduguri. Ngariri was then razed.

People who returned to check on Bukarti and Ngariri told Amnesty International that everything was torched. Satellite imagery corroborates both villages were burned in early January.

Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International said they could not bring belongings with them, so lost everything – their homes, jewellery, clothes, and, most devastatingly, the crops they stored after the harvest.

“Everything we harvested was destroyed, and some of our animals died,” said a farmer in his 60s. “I had a year [of harvest] stored – it’s what I would’ve sold to buy clothes and other things for my family.”

“Everything was burned, even our food – it could feed [my family] for two years,” said another man, around 30, who snuck back weeks later to see the destruction. “Our clothes, our food, our crops, our kettles. Even the trolley we used for getting water. Only the metal dishes are there, but everything else is burned.”

Ordering the displacement of the inhabitants of these villages, where their security or imperative military reasons did not demand so, constitutes a war crime. The subsequent burning of their homes may amount to a war crime as well.

 

Arbitrary Detention, Torture Or Other Ill-Treatment

As the military emptied Bukarti and Matiri and brought people to the trucks on 3 January, they separated six younger men and blindfolded them, according to consistent accounts by relatives of two of the men and other witnesses.

They said the soldiers did not seek the men out by name or otherwise appear to come looking for specific people. Four witnesses said they thought it was because those younger men had mobile phones.

The soldiers beat at least some of the men with large sticks and put them in military vehicles.

The military held the men incommunicado for almost a month; relatives and village leaders were unable to determine where the men were held. All six men were released on 30 January. They have not been charged with any crime.

Two of the detained men told Amnesty International that, because they were blindfolded until reaching their cell, they did not know where they were being held until their release – when they saw it was Maimalari military barracks in Maiduguri.

They said they were chained in pairs and, other than being questioned one day, never let out of the cell. They only received food once a day.

“We had no food,” one former detainee described. “People there are hungry. It was horrible.”

Throughout the conflict between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram, Amnesty International has documented prolonged arbitrary detention by the military.

Soldiers have also subjected detained men, women, and children to torture and other ill-treatment, in violation of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

 

‘They Say They Saved Us From Boko Haram, But It’s A Lie’

Nigerian army statements, reported by the media, indicate soldiers from Brigades 5 and 29, along with Special Intervention Battalion 2, carried out the operations between Jakana and Mainok on 3 January.

The army said it arrested six “suspects” and “rescued… 461 Boko Haram captives” from several villages, including Bukarti and Matiri.

Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International said Boko Haram had not been in their village, and that they felt significantly safer in their village than in the IDP camp where the military took them.

“They say they saved us from Boko Haram, but it’s a lie,” said one man, around 65. “Boko Haram isn’t coming to our village.”

“If Boko Haram had been visiting our place, we have our own animals, our own harvest – do you think they wouldn’t have taken those?” said another older woman from Bukarti. “The [Boko Haram] boys aren’t close to us.”

Several Bukarti and Ngariri residents said their village was so close to the main road that it wasn’t credible to think Boko Haram could base itself there.

They said Nigerian soldiers came through the area regularly and spoke frequently with village leaders.

Four witnesses told Amnesty International that Nigerian soldiers staged photographs of the villagers walking to the trucks, to make it appear as if the military had ‘saved’ them.

“The Nigerian government must not brush these violations under the carpet. They must be investigated, and alleged perpetrators must be prosecuted. Necessary steps must also be taken to ensure that military operations do not further forcibly displace civilian populations,” said Osai Ojigho.

 

Surge In Boko Haram Attacks

The military’s operations come amid a surge in Boko Haram activity in areas along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.

In its deadliest attack since the start of the year, on 10 February Boko Haram allegedly killed 30 motorists near Auno village.

It was the armed group’s sixth assault on Auno in 10 months, demonstrating its disregard for the sanctity of human life as well as the increasing danger for civilians living along this vital route connecting Borno state to the rest of Nigeria.

Protesters Storm Amnesty International Office, Ask Them To Leave Nigeria

 

A group of protesters on Tuesday stormed the Abuja office of human rights group, Amnesty International, demanding that they leave Nigeria.

The protesters who arrived in large numbers at the office at about 12 pm, barricaded the road leading to the entrance, preventing moving into and exit from the premises.

They accused the organisation of aiding insecurity in Nigeria and consequently, destabilising the country.

One of their placards read: “You are the wheel behind Boko Haram, IMN, IPOB and ISWAP”.

“Amnesty International bury your head in shame..Leave now or we will force you to leave,” another read.

Amnesty International is yet to react to the situation but they took to Twitter to share photos of the protest.

See some of the photos below.

 

CAN Chairman’s Killing: Deplorable Crimes Must Not Go Unpunished – Amnesty International

A file photo of slain Reverend Lawan Andimi.

 

 

Human rights group, Amnesty International has condemned the killing of Reverend Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram insurgents.

The clergyman, who was abducted by the insurgents in early January, was the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria.

Despite the call for his release by various groups, including the national leadership of the religious body, Andimi was killed by his captors on Monday.

The Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Bishop Dami Mamza, confirmed the killing of the abducted CAN Chairman, saying it was gruesome and unfortunate.

On Tuesday, the director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, also described Andimi’s murder as appalling.

Ojigho said, “Amnesty International is appalled by reports that Reverend Lawan Andimi, the chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was killed by Boko Haram yesterday (Monday).

“With this horrific murder and an increasing number of attacks in recent weeks, Boko Haram has again shown its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life. These deplorable crimes must not go unpunished.”

The group’s director decried that Boko Haram followed up the killing of the clergyman with an attack on his village in Chibok Local Government of Borno State.

According to her, targeting civilians is a crime under international law and those perpetrating war crimes must be made to face the consequence of their actions.

“Boko Haram must immediately stop its attacks on civilians. All those responsible for war crimes and other human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria must be brought to justice in a fair trial,” Ojigho said.

She added, “The Nigerian authorities must redouble their efforts to rescue the hundreds of civilians still detained by Boko Haram.

“Since December last year, Boko Haram has been escalating attacks on civilians, commuters, infrastructure and humanitarian facilities across north-east.”

IMF Loans Equatorial Guinea $280m Despite Controversy

The International Monetary Fund, is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

 

The International Monetary Fund has extended a 280-million-dollar loan to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, despite protests by rights monitors who cited sweeping misrule and corruption in the central African country.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam had opposed the loan until the government of the country, ruled with an iron fist by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema for four decades, cleaned up its act.

“The arrangement is intended to support the authorities’ three-year economic program, which aims at further reducing macroeconomic imbalances and addressing financial sector vulnerabilities; improving social protection and human capital development; promoting economic diversification; and fostering good governance, increasing transparency and fighting corruption,” an IMF statement said Thursday.

About $40.4 million of the total will be disbursed immediately and the remainder over a three-year period, the Washington-based lender said.

IMF deputy managing director Tao Zhang said: “In recent years, the Equatoguinean economy has been impacted by a sharp decline in oil prices and a secular decline in hydrocarbon output, which led to large macroeconomic imbalances and negative economic growth.

“The economy has also been affected by longstanding governance and corruption problems.

“While the authorities have taken steps to address these challenges, a more comprehensive approach is needed to tackle them effectively and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth,” Tao said.

“The IMF loan should force Equatorial Guinea to undertake deep reforms in the way the country exploits its natural resources,” said Sarah Saadoun, a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“A slew of international lawsuits for corruption have been filed against the son of the president, who holds the post of vice-president”, added Tutu Alicante, the head of a local NGO called EG Justice.

Vice President Teodorin Obiang Nguema is notorious for his free-spending lifestyle and his multi-million-dollar mansions strewn across the world in some of the world’s most expensive areas.

Rights groups accuse President Obiang of ruthlessly clamping down on the opposition and institutional corruption.

Despite its oil wealth, the vast majority of the population live in dire poverty.

 

AFP

19 Journalists Suffered Attack In Nigeria Within Nine Months – Amnesty International

AFP photo

 

 

Amnesty International says no fewer than 19 journalists and media practitioners have suffered attack in Nigeria between January and September 2019.

The human rights organisation disclosed this in its report entitled, Endangered Voices: Attack On Freedom Of Expression In Nigeria.

In the 42-page document launched in Abuja on Monday, the group noted that the figure was the highest recorded in the country since 2015.

One of the cases highlighted in the report is that of Jones Abiri, a journalist based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, who was arrested and detained for more than two years without trial for publishing a story about oil blocks and politics in Nigeria.

Another incident is that of Ahmed Salkida who was declared wanted by the Nigerian government for publishing an article and proof of life video of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, among other cases.

READ ALSO: Police Uncover Islamic Centre With Chained, Maltreated Children In Daura

Amnesty decried that the civic space has continued to shrink, stressing that clear examples of such were the attacks on freedom of information and expression as well as media freedom.

“Since 2015, attacks on journalists and media activists have continued unabated. Amnesty International has been closely monitoring these attacks and now reports on how they have contributed to the violation of other human rights in Nigeria.

“These attacks take the form of verbal and physical assault, as well as indiscriminate arrest and detention by Nigerian authorities,” Amnesty said in the executive summary page of the report.

 

Death Threats?

It accused the security forces of perpetrating most of the violations, adding that they occur when journalists and media practitioners seek access to information, share information or express critical views that could drive public opinion.

The group was worried that dissenting views expressed by media practitioners were often criminalised, particularly when they revolve around sensitive issues.

It also noted that there was stifling of freedom of expression in circumstances where journalists were pressured to disclose their sources of information.

“Those who spoke to Amnesty International confirmed that they came under intense pressure from Nigeria’s security officials to reveal their sources of information, particularly when they published stories that focused on corruption, elections, and armed conflict.

“Some of the journalists were kept under surveillance, while others received death threats via telephone calls from unidentified people.

“Many journalists also came under attack while reporting the 2019 General Elections across Nigeria,” the report revealed.

According to the group, the failure of the Nigerian government to investigate cases of indiscriminate arrest, detention, and prosecution of journalists and media practitioners ensures that perpetrators are not held to account for human rights violations.

It said while many of the victims faced indiscriminate charges such as ‘defamation’ and ‘terrorism’, others had charges such as ‘kidnapping’, criminal trespass and theft of state documents brought against them.

Amnesty accused the government at both federal and state levels of violating and repressing the human rights of bloggers, journalists, broadcasters and social media users.

It stated that the Nigerian authorities have legally binding obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, media freedom and personal liberty in the country.

The group, therefore, asked the government to immediately end violations and abuses of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, as well as media freedom and personal liberty.

It recommended that journalists, bloggers, and media activists must have access to information and be able to do their job freely without any fear of reprisal.

Amnesty also called for thorough and effective investigations into allegations of attacks against victims and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible through fair trials.

Among other demands, it called on the government to issue clear directives to the police, military, and other security agencies to refrain from applying existing laws in a manner that restricts or interferes with rights to freedom of expression.

Amnesty International Demands Justice For Victims Of Sudan Violence

Secretary-General of Amnesty International Kumi Naidoo speaks during a press conference in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on September 13, 2019.
Ebrahim HAMID / AFP

 

Rights group Amnesty International Friday called for justice for those killed during months of protests that rocked Sudan, insisting that demonstrators had faced “disproportionate and unnecessary” violence.

Sudan has experienced unprecedentedly large rallies since December, first against now-ousted leader Omar al-Bashir and later against the generals who seized power after overthrowing him.

The protest movement says that more than 250 demonstrators were killed in the violence, including at least 127 in a crackdown on a sit-in during early June outside military headquarters in Khartoum.

“Amnesty International thanks the people of Sudan for showing us courage, for showing us resilience and for showing that we can resist injustice and violation of human rights,” Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo told reporters during a visit to Khartoum, in the first such trip by the rights group’s chief to Sudan.

He said the demonstrators were confronted by “disproportionate use of violence, unnecessary use of violence and provocative use of violence”.

READ ALSO: South African Protesters Demand Crackdown On Femicide

“Amnesty International will back the Sudanese people in calling on the new government to ensure that there are absolute accountability and justice” for the families of those killed.

Protests first erupted in December against the then government’s decision to triple the price of bread.

They swiftly escalated into a nationwide campaign against Bashir’s ironfisted three-decade rule.

The army ousted Bashir on April 11 but protesters continued their street campaign, switching it against the military council that overthrow him.

In August, Sudan embarked on a transition to civilian rule thanks to a power-sharing deal signed between protest leaders and the generals, and a joint civilian-military ruling body was sworn in.

On Sunday, an 18-member cabinet was sworn in, the first since the ouster of Bashir.

AFP

South African Authorities Must Stop ‘Fuelling Xenophobia’ – Amnesty International

A man kicks a burning piece of furniture during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019. Michele Spatari / AFP.

 

 

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International has called on South African authorities to urgently address the escalating attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners living in the country.

The Executive Director of the organisation in South Africa, Mr Shenilla Mohamed, made the call while faulting the government’s attitude to the crisis.

Mohamed’s criticism comes amid the series of condemnation that has trailed the xenophobic attacks targetted at Nigerians and citizens of other countries in South Africa.

“South African authorities must stop fuelling xenophobia in their desperate attempt to win political support,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Is Recalling Its High Commissioner To South Africa – Lai Mohammed

The executive director added, “Rather, they must build a country that is rooted in respect for human rights and the rule of law that protects everyone.

“South African authorities must come up with a security plan to ensure the safety of all refugees and migrants and seek to end these attacks once and for all. That begins with holding suspected perpetrators of past xenophobic crimes to account and breaking this cycle of impunity.”

According to Mohamed, ongoing attacks against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as looting of foreign-owned shops in South Africa is a direct consequence of years of impunity.

He also blamed it on the failure in the country’s criminal justice system that has left vulnerable group exposed and unprotected.

Convenient Scapegoats?

The executive director noted that five people have been confirmed dead as violence between locals and foreigners continued to escalate in Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa.

He said, “South African authorities cannot say that they didn’t see this rampant violence coming. For many years refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have been targeted for who they are and what they look like.

“They have also served as convenient scapegoats for unscrupulous politicians who have pushed the insidious narrative that foreign nationals have stolen jobs and are to blame for everything that is going wrong in the country.”

Mohamed said the first major outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa witnessed more than 11 years ago resulted in the killing of more than 60 people.

He wondered why such crisis was not seen as a wake-up call for the authorities to root out hatred against refugees and migrants and hold those responsible to account.

“Their lack of action has resulted in the subsequent and recurring attacks we’ve seen,” the executive director decried.

Condemning the recent attacks, he noted that South Africa has been experiencing systematic looting and burning of businesses belonging to foreign nationals, largely in Pretoria and Johannesburg for weeks.

Mohamed insisted that businesses belonging to Nigerians and other foreign nationals have been targeted in the two cities, with stock and possessions worth millions burnt to ashes.

He said the violence dramatically escalated last week following confrontations between locals and foreigners, marked by horrific attacks and killings.

The executive director insisted that the South African government has largely failed to address past xenophobic, violent outbreaks across the country.

Amnesty International Frowns At Alleged Torture Of Suspects By Nigeria Police, Military

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

Amnesty International has decried the alleged use of torture by Nigeria military and police to get information from suspects.

The group said its arm in Nigeria has continued to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody despite an existing law against the use of torture.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement released by Amnesty International in commemoration International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

“Nigerian authorities must do more to end the ongoing use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment by law enforcement agencies.

“Despite recent government measures aimed at reducing the incidence of torture in the country, Amnesty International Nigeria continues to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody. Moreover, victims are still being denied justice, with the Nigerian judicial system failing to prevent or punish torture, perpetuating a culture of impunity,” the statement read in part.

READ ALSO: Court Has No Jurisdiction For My Arrest Warrant, Says Innoson Boss

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho in the statement added that, although steps have been taken to address torture in Nigeria, including the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in December 2017 and the setting up of the presidential panel on reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) the use of torture by the police and others is still widespread.

“Our research also shows that despite an existing law against the use of torture, no police officer has been charged under the act. Moreover, the Nigerian police is yet to amend Force Order 237 which allows police officers to shoot at fleeing suspects, giving room for lethal use of force that sometimes leads to extrajudicial killings.

“On 5 March 2018 a high court in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay compensation to Ugochukwu Oraefo for extortion, illegal arrest, unlawful detention and torture after he was arrested by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Awkuzu, Anambra state. The police have neither paid the victim nor ensured that the police officers involved have been brought to justice.

“Amnesty International highlighted rampant torture and ill-treatment especially by the SARS police unit in the report: Nigeria: ‘You Have Signed Your Death Warrant’ in 2016, yet shocking incidents of torture still continue. Every now and then videos of police officers or soldiers torturing suspects surface and generate outrage.”

The human rights group said it is time Nigerian authorities declare, in strong terms, that security personnel will be held accountable for torture and that victims of torture will get justice, including rehabilitation and compensation.

In 2018 Nigerian activists launched a nationwide social media campaign #EndSARS, demanding an end to torture and other ill-treatment by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAR), a special police squad created to fight armed robbery cases. In response, the police authorities acknowledged that SARS has been responsible for widespread violations and announced some reforms, while the government directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a panel to investigate the activities of SARS.

The panel submitted its report in May 2019.

An Amnesty International poll in May 2019 indicated that 63 percent of poll respondents regard torture and unlawful killings by the police, as the most serious human rights violation they want the government to address.

Amnesty International Seeks Abolition Of Death Penalty In Nigeria

NGO Bill: Protect Your Freedom, Amnesty International Tells Nigerians

 

Global rights group, Amnesty International has launched an eight point human rights agenda, asking the Federal and State Governments to urgently implement recommendations from previous reports about human rights violations in Nigeria.

Amnesty International also asked for an abolition of death sentence and as well an end to torture as a means of extracting information from suspects during interrogations.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the country director of the human rights organization, Osai Ojigho maintained that both the Federal and State Governments need to do more to address cases of human rights abuses, adding that the new political dispensation provides politicians another opportunity.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences Beninoise Househelp To Death For Murder Of Boss

Over the years, Amnesty International has documented reports about human rights abuses across Nigeria. Some of those reports are often very critical about the operations of government agencies especially the police and the Nigeria military.

At the news conference in Abuja, the human rights organization did not release a new report, but proposed eight point human rights agenda for the new political dispensation in Nigeria.

The organization said it wants government to end violence against women and girls, stop torture and abolish death penalty.

In line with the rights group’s request, many agree that the issue of torture as a means of extracting information from suspects should be abolished, however, many others disagree with the human rights organization on their quest to abolish the death penalty.

Although many countries around the world have abolished capital punishment, death penalty is still practiced in some countries including China, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Amnesty International Condemns Killing Of Nigerian Woman By Saudi Arabia Government

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

 

Amnesty International has condemned the execution of the Nigerian woman by Saudi Arabia.

The human rights group in a statement via twitter noted that since 2014, 8 Nigerians have been executed including 7men and 1 woman.

According to Amnesty International the highest number of execution was recorded in 2018 with the execution of 5 Nigerians.

Amnesty International urged the Saudi Arabian government to put an end to the act of violence.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Two Over Killing Of UNILAG Medical Grad, Stephen Urueye

In a similar vein, Amnesty International has said that the Nigerian Justice system has failed to curb the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.

The rights agency made the assertion in reaction to the killing of a young man named Kolade Johnson, by an alleged member of SARS.

Amnesty International said that the Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing of the young man shot dead by the “notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit” while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos.

Amnesty International said it has documented a pattern of grave human rights violations carried out by SARS since 2016.

“Kolade Johnson is the latest victim of the SARS police unit which has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture, and extortion,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“This appears to be an unlawful killing which must be impartially and thoroughly investigated, with any officers suspected of criminal responsibility for wrongdoing brought to justice in a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court.

It is shameful that more than two years since Amnesty International highlighted crimes under international law and human rights violations by SARS, these shocking incidents continue unabated.”