Federal Government has criticised Amnesty International, AI, over its allegations that troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East zone were involved in human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.
The government also frowned at the situation where the global rights watch did not see anything wrong in the wanton killing of defenceless Nigerians by the terrorists but castigate soldiers for waging war against them.
In a preliminary response to AI’s article entitled “Star On Their Shoulders, Blood On Their Hands: War Crimes Committed By The Nigerian Military,” the Federal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said following the state of emergency imposed on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states due to the Boko Haram activities, the military had been empowered to arrest, interrogate and detain any civilian actively involved in terrorists activities.
The ministry, in a statement it issued in Abuja yesterday through the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Bulus Z. Lolo, said it was worrisome that AI had yet to comment on the “horrendous, mindless, and ruinous activities that deserve justice and sympathy.”
The statement reads in part: “The government of Nigeria is deeply concerned about the rights and safety of all Nigerians. Even if AI does not see fit to report on the atrocities of Boko Haram, the government of Nigeria will ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
“In Nigeria, as in other regions where terrorists have unleashed their evil acts without a scintilla of respect for morality, extreme measures are sometimes required to contain extremism. It is a well known fact that Boko Haram respects no laws at all, including sacred religious laws that the group claims to cherish.”
Ambassador Lolo said the government had reaffirmed its unflinching commitment to fighting terrorism in all its forms. “In this regard, Nigeria will continue to work and count on the support of its neighbours as well as its international partners.”
The statement said President Muhammadu Buhari is looking into the report with a view to establishing the facts of the matter, and hence instituted an investigation and assured that there would be no cover-up.
“It should be noted that while the AI’s report casts widespread aspersions, it offers no clue on the sources referred to in its report. Such omission clearly shows that AI is shielding the identity of the so-called sources thereby not helping the investigation,” he said.
The government said that the Nigerian military was conscious of its constitutional mandate, which confers on it the responsibility to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians.
“It is worth stating that the Nigerian military, in line with its training, ensures the highest level of professionalism by its officers in the conduct of its operations both internally and externally, which has earned it well-deserved respect,” Lolo stated.


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