The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has accused the Amnesty International of plotting to replace Boko Haram with another deadly terror group.
CATE said AI’s penchant for distortion of facts was a deliberate attempt to creating enabling environment for the spawning of terrorism in West Africa.
The group was reacting to a recent report released by the agency where it alleged that they have obtained footage of a shocking and unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police against members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN.
CATE, therefore, challenged the Amnesty International to be truthful in addressing human rights issues, especially those relating to Nigeria and the West African region.
Gabriel Onoja, National Coordinator of the group, at a press conference on Wednesday, said the recent assertion by Amnesty International in which it called on the Federal Government to hold security forces accountable for alleged killing of IMN members was a campaign of incitement against the Nigerian state.
According to Onoja, “We are concerned that Amnesty International is on the way to providing the incentives to make its ally, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) into a replacement for Boko Haram after it became glaring that Boko Haram will never be able to provide the kind of destabilization it had hoped for. What is ridiculous, however, is for Amnesty International to be repeating the same strategy it deployed in support of Boko Haram terrorists.
“Part of the pattern being promoted by this NGO is to attempt decriminalizing the atrocities being committed by IMN extremists. This consists largely of using images of IMN members that died in clashes with security agencies to draw attention away from the acts of terror committed by IMN prior to and in the course of confrontation with the security forces:
“Members of the group, under the pretext of protesting for the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky, obstruct the roads and harass other commuters. We wonder if Amnesty International is aware that among the road users that are trapped in the gridlocks created by these protests are patients being rushed to hospital for life saving medical intervention. The suggestion of this so called international NGO is that it is okay for IMN to obstruct the roads in manner that kill people even though charges may never be brought against them and that the persons that will die in such agonizing manner do not have rights.
“Amnesty International is suggesting that stones, slingshots, sticks and fused bottles filled with petrol do not qualify as weapons; it is practically saying that we should allow members of the group attack security personnel with these items since they are not considered to be lethal weapons.
“The NGO is also brainwashing people into disregarding the vandalism and arson committed by IMN members. They deface public infrastructure, destroyed cars belonging to other Nigerians and there is multimedia evidence of the police car they burnt and the other vehicles belonging to security agencies that were smashed. Had the Police and Military not stepped in to put a stop to the IMN madness they would have definitely killed scores of Nigerians.
“Amnesty International engaged the same tactic when it repeatedly used lies about human rights abuses to obstruct Nigeria’s war on terrorism. The implication is that the terror group now uses the NGO as a shield each time it wants to re-group after being defeated. The blame for the lingering Boko Haram crisis is therefore on Amnesty International. Leah Sharibu and other hostages would never have been held by Boko Haram against their fundamental rights while others victims that have been killed and deprived of their rights to life would certainly still be among the living if only Amnesty International allows security and military agencies to do their work.”
The group further called on the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to urgently take practical step of sanctioning Amnesty International especially by way of distancing itself from the questionable group as its work around the globe have added to human misery instead of the converse.
Onoja added, “At the risk of appearing to trivialize the acts of terror being committed by IMN extremists, we advise the Police and Nigerian military to create stones and slingshot units or brigades to take on IMN fighters that are similarly armed since these are not considered as weapons. We only hope that Amnesty International will not cry foul when their wards are treated to the treatment they have been meting out to the security personnel they have injured.”