Nigerians and indeed, the international community are not oblivious of the frantic and sustained efforts by the government of Nigeria to end Boko Haram terrorism in the country. The Nigeria military has fearlessly and courageously prosecuted this difficult anti-terrorism campaign in accordance with rules of engagement, barring human errors.
The Nigerian Military have devoted so much to the counter-terrorism war in Nigeria. It is their sacrifice and commitment to counter-insurgency that led to the defeat of Boko Haram terrorists, which has earned the country international accolades from world leaders and bodies like the United Nations (UN).
It’s regrettable that troops have continued to battle residues of terrorists in the Northeast for this long. The development is fueled by the suspected betrayal and compromise of the anti-terrorism war on several fronts at the detriment of Nigeria which has suffered it more severely. And these forces seem not to relent.
There is the suspicion of covert support to fleeing remnants of terrorists by Nigeria’s neighbours, which enables insurgents to re-group and rejuvenate to unleash occasional attacks on soft targets in Nigeria. Equally disturbing is the invincible network of foreign agents of Boko Haram terrorists, who provide tacit support to terrorism in Nigeria through the use of their legitimate banner of officialdom.
And Amnesty International (AI) has struggled hard over the years to sustain the suspicion that it belongs to this category of terrorists agents through reports that are unjustly fabricated alleging human rights violations, which tend to indict the Nigerian Military on its prosecution of the anti-terrorism war. But ironically, such reports incites and encourage Boko Haram terrorists to unleash more heinous atrocities on the Nigerian people.
It was a fortnight ago, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) led by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN and the Security Council’s President for the month of March visited Nigeria, Niger and Cameroun, the trio of West African countries under the grip of terrorism. The UNSC team witnessed for itself the bare horror of Nigeria’s near nine years battle with terrorism. The team saw and felt the devastations, the ruins and the humanitarian crisis of the post-terrorism era. They described every bit of what they saw in sorrowful and catastrophic terms, drenched in emotions of empathy for the sufferings of the people.
Yet, despite the severity of terrorists atrocities on Nigeria, AI felt obliged in its latest report for 2016/2017, which is conspicuously flawed in evidence, to pontificate on the human rights abuse of terrorists by the Nigerian Army. It expectedly, never spared even a sentence in condemnation of the actions of Boko Haram terrorists on the innocent people whose human rights have been most abused by insurgents.
Already, the Federal Government of Nigeria has reacted to the report condemning it as a fraud designed to taint the image of Nigeria’s security institutions and dampen the spirit of troops in the anti-terrorism war. It has sufficiently expressed the feelings of the generality of Nigerians on the twisted AI report.
A public statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “it was worrisome to observe that the Report neither encourages compliance with national laws nor condemns horrendous, mindless, and ruinous activities of terrorist groups in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian Army has also inaugurated a seven-member “Special Board of Inquiry’’ chaired by Gen. Ahmed Jibrin, (rtd) to ascertain the veracity of the allegations of human rights violations leveled against the army personnel in the counter-insurgency campaigns. The action is an indication of the desire of the Nigerian Army to prosecute the anti-terrorism war in accordance with the rules of engagement and regard for human rights of all citizens and its preparedness to punish erring personnel who trample on these rights.
Nonetheless, the posturing of AI has become so unpretentiously biased and skewed to the extent its reports rather emboldens lawless groups to continue to plot the destabilization of Nigeria. A day after and probably, bolstered by the Amnesty International’s latest report, Boko Haram terrorists which heard a voice of support from its comforter, celebrated it with an attack on a community in Borno state, in Nigeria’s Northeast.
In the Magumeri community incident for instance, Boko Haram terrorists razed down houses, including a police station in the town. Reports say, insurgents drove in 10 utility vehicles, shooting and attacking military formations, but were later countered by Nigerian soldiers.
Nigerians were enjoying respite from Boko Haram until AI released its defective, but damaging report which glorified terrorists and pinned down troops. The tempo of the attack on Magumeri community or any other part of the Northeast has not been witnessed in recent months.
But the malicious AI’s report served as the tonic for terrorists upon the realization that an international human rights organization is in support of their horrendous crimes against Nigerians. It clearly leaves no one in doubt that AI is possibly one of the pillars behind the festering of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. But Nigerians cannot sacrifice their peace and unity to please these foreign agents of destabilization.
The Nigerian government has warned that “…no persons or group of persons will be allowed to destabilize the peace, stability and security, or jeopardize the unity and sovereign existence of Nigeria, no matter how highly placed and the level of external support such individuals or group of persons enjoy.”
Since terrorism peaked in Nigeria, AI has always toed the line of support to these terrorists. Its previous reports on alleged human rights abuses against the army were discountenanced as untrue by other independent bodies that conducted separate investigations. But AI has refused to let go, the shame of backing terrorists. Nigerians should not allow this negative interference from AI to continue against the interests of Nigeria.
It is now imperative for Nigerians to rise up in protection of Nigerian troops in the counter-insurgency war and against terrorism and their veiled agents as manifest in the shadows of Amnesty International. When Boko Haram terrorists are aware they cannot be protected by any sane organization, insurgents will certainly and fully surrender to the superior fire-power of the Nigerian military.
Amnesty International has over undermined the peace and unity of Nigeria for too long. Nigerians must resolve to expel them now, if the country hopes to free itself from the chains of terrorists. The time to act is now. AI cannot defile blood of the innocent slaughtered by insurgents, but hold the human rights of terrorists in such towering regard.
Ola is an international affairs analyst and contributed this essay from Frankfurt, Germany.