Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) have compiled an extensive stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country, according to the presidency.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said this in a statement titled “Why Amnesty’s Entreaties Should Be Ignored by the Presidency”.
In the statement, Amnesty International reacted to a report on how security agencies handled the IPOB crisis in the South East.
Despite Amnesty’s “self-proclaimed” mandate to “impartially” transcend borders, Garba said the organization only engaged in domestic politics in Nigeria.
Adding that this is not unusual in Africa, he asserted that the international NGO serves as a cover for the local leaders to pursue their own interests. “There is nothing wrong with an activist stance; however, there is a claim of neutrality when all the facts indicate the opposite.”
Amnesty International should open a formal investigation into the personnel in their Nigerian offices, said the presidential aide, who said Amnesty International does not have a legal right to exist in Nigeria.
“They should reject the outrageously tendentious misinformation they receive and do some type of due diligence on the sources they cite to support their claims. Currently, we do not see any.
The Nigerian government will fight terrorism with all the means available to it. “We will ignore Amnesty’s rants, especially when they come from an organization that does not hold itself to the same standards it demands of others,” he concluded.
In the statement, it was also stated: “Amnesty International has launched another salvo at Nigeria.
“Once again, they have chosen to side with terrorists over the liberty of those they murder, displace, and injure.
“Amnesty International claims to champion universal human rights, but it deploys its language solely for the purpose of promoting violent opposition to the federal government. While parroting the line of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu, a proscribed terror group, they work to legitimize its cause to Western audiences.
“This places them in bad company. US lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the same, laundering IPOB’s reputation in Washington DC.
IPOB murders Nigerian citizens. They set fire to government property and kill police officers and military personnel. They now possess a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs throughout the country. If this group had been in a western country, Amnesty’s full-throated defense of their actions would not be expected. In place of this, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justifications for western governments’ actions against terrorism.”
Amnesty International reported on August 5, 2021, that at least 115 people had been killed by security forces in four months in the South East.
“The evidence gathered by Amnesty International paints a damning picture of ruthless excessive force by Nigerian security forces in Imo, Anambra, and Abia states,” said Ojigho.
Nigeria’s government responded with a heavy hand to killings and violence widely attributed to a group called Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a pro-Biafra movement.
An investigation by Amnesty International conducted in Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, and Abia states from January 2021 documented 62 cases of arbitrary arrests, unlawful killings, and torture.