Amnesty International is riding the wave of a newfound high after delivering on its clients’ demand, which appears to be a mission to grade Nigeria in the same column with repressive nation states. The ebullience with which the organisation’s field assets were pumping each others hands and patting shoulders after a Nigerian event to unveiled its annual State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2016.
For anyone that has followed events, the Amnesty International’s 2016 report offered nothing new. It is a rehash of other emergency reports that it had issued in the course of that year, often put together hurriedly, such that thoroughness is not an attribute to expect from those documents. The military, the institution targeted by those reports, has repeatedly picked holes in the reports, citing reasons that the non-governmental organization has not been able to successfully refute. If the reports on the individual incidents were unacceptable, it follows that one must question an annual compendium made up of the same materials. By extension, the 2016 annual report is in no way a departure from previous undertakings by Amnesty International, which has severally been accused of colluding with some international media networks and state actors with vested interests, with the objective of undermining sovereign nations.
The knowledge of these facts did not however do anything to douse the emotional high that coursed through the rank of the crisis entrepreneurs running Amnesty International in Nigeria, and apparently the same happened in their international circuit. Unfortunately for this crowd, that high was to be short lived. Unlike the other countries whose population where caught napping while well orchestrated destabilization plots were hatched and executed to make their lives miserable on earth, Nigeria has proven to be a different case. The military was again able to convincingly call out the lies in the report, leaving the NGO in panic mode. But the successful rebuttal by the military is nothing compared to the sense of public outrage against the suspicious intent of Amnesty International in coming up with the report. Several individuals and many civil society organizations simply tore the document to shreds with the assessment of what was reported. For the first time in a long career of unsettling nation, AI is forced to go into firefighting mode. It has to make itself look good, at least do enough damage control to ensure it can still continue to service the interests of its clients in Nigeria.
This low is doomed to sink even lower when the organisation’s partners and clients discover that its claims of scoring a huge success in the business of demonizing Nigeria was a ruse after all. The country they hate so much has failed to succumb to all the tricks in their books and the contractor engaged to implement the plots is lying about results. Instead of tarnishing the reputation of their choice target, the Nigerian military, and its defeat of Boko Haram terrorists is what resonates among citizens. Perhaps, the citizen disavowal of Amnesty International has a lot to do with their realization that the ruse of protecting human rights being touted by Amnesty International is working more in favour of Boko Haram to the detriment of the people rather than facilitating a so called international standard. Anyone that has lost a loved one to the depravity of the terrorists would definitely question the sanity of any individual or entity that suggests the killers should be given preferential treatment.
The same can be said of the other groups that Amnesty International has also tried to protect or issued reports to canonize. Those who suffered the horror of Nigeria’s Civil War in the late 1960s would appreciate the risk posed by persons forming groups to demand a breakup of the country – some of them have attempted fundraising to buy weapons for fighting the Nigerian state. Militants in the Niger-Delta have used sabotage of economic assets to trigger poverty on a scale that has led to the loss of lives; they too are demanding the break up of Nigeria. Amnesty International’s defence of these kind of criminal elements intent on balkanizing Nigeria ties nicely into the postulations of fake prophets who had concluded that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015. It is two years past that evil forecast and the shame of those behind it is evident. The military with the other security agencies played crucial roles in making sure that the projection remained in the realm of dreams, which makes it logical that the NGO will target such entities.
But in going after the military, especially with the fanatic zeal the mission was pursued, AI exposed itself as an institution no one has any business trusting or respecting. They have proven they cannot be taken seriously by the people because of what they are. Do we still need a soothsayer to tell us that AI and its report has again been rejected in Nigeria?
California is desirous of exiting the United States of America. Britain is leaving the European Union with Brexit in progress; Scotland and Northern Ireland are not happy remaining in the United Kingdom. AI would do well to sponsor groups in these places to pursue the breakup of these countries while leaving Nigeria alone. Save for few elements who lap up the blood-dollars imported into Nigeria by these organizations, the recent total rejection of AI and its biased report is a clear message that Nigerians are by a mile wiser now.
Kwuanu TF is Global Amnesty Watch Investigator in Africa and contributed this piece from Abuja.