The Coalition on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Nigeria has described as false recent report in the media credited to Amnesty International that over 60 persons were killed in Rann area of Borno State by members of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Amnesty International had in a statement claimed that at least 60 people were killed following the 28 January devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria.
However, the human rights group said its investigative tour of the theatre didn’t only reveal that Amnesty International lied on its claim, it also showed that INEC’s decision to conduct elections in all the polling units across the north-east was well placed with the realities on ground.
The coalition made this known in a preliminary report presented on Monday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The report signed by its President/Convener, Gabriel Oche, said it was high time the Nigerian government began the process of expelling organizations such as Amnesty International from the country for its notoriety.
The full report reads in full:
The current news making the rounds on Boko Haram attacks in Rann, Damaturu road and other parts of the North East necessitated the Coalition on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights in Nigeria to activate a team of researchers to undertake an assessment tour of the above mentioned areas with a view to leaving the realm of speculation and to put things in proper perspective.
The operations of the Boko Haram terrorists in North East Nigeria have been the subject of debate across various platforms in Nigeria. While it has been stated in numerous forums that Boko Haram has been degraded, some organizations have countered the argument indicating that Boko Haram has instead intensified its operations against the Nigeria state.
The Nigerian military, on the other hand, has been in the vanguard of engaging the terrorist and this has resulted in casualties on both sides. This much has been evident in ensuring that peace is restored to North East Nigeria and the safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their homes and communities.
From previous reports on the activities of the Nigerian military in North East Nigeria, it has been revealed that the since 2015 the Nigerian military gained grounds and recovered many territories that were once under the control of Boko Haram terrorists and it has continually engaged the Boko Haram terrorist who has resorted to using Nigeria’s neighbours (Chad, Niger, and Cameroon) as retreat areas whenever they come under heavy bombardment from the Nigeria military .
The Boko Haram Terrorist have also set up training camps along the fringes and use such location to launch attacks in communities in Nigeria and after that retreat to these countries. This is despite the memorandum of understanding signed between Nigeria and the francophone countries towards forming an alliance to combat terrorism in Sub Saharan Africa.
There also have been established cases of external support towards the Boko Haram terrorist, especially with the affiliation of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) and other terrorist’s networks in the world.
Consequently, this report looks critically at the claims made by the Nigeria Army towards degrading the Boko Haram Terrorists and also the counterclaims made by some organizations such as Amnesty International and others.
It has been widely speculated by Amnesty International (AI) that Boko Haram launched a deadly attack in Rann, Borno State that saw to the death of over 60 people. It also stated that the Boko Haram terrorist have been terrorizing travellers on the Damaturu Road, as well as other parts of North East Nigeria, therefore puncturing the claims by the Nigerian Army that the Boko Haram terrorists have been degraded.
Amnesty International has engaged the Nigerian Military with accusations of human rights violations and their inability to protect the people of North East Nigeria from Boko Haram terrorist that has led to a wanton loss of lives and properties. It also alluded that there have been constant Boko Haram attacks in Rann and other parts of North East Nigeria in recent times that have seen the Nigerian military lose grip of its core responsibilities and with a dampened morale as a result of heavy casualties it has suffered in the battlefield.
The group of researchers deployed for on the spot assessment of the various claims as postulated by Amnesty International came up with the verdict that the bulk of the position of Amnesty International is not an accurate reflection of the issues on the ground.
The Rann Attacks was amplified and misrepresented to the general public by Amnesty International. It was also gathered that Amnesty International acted in a manner that suggested that it has foreknowledge of the activities of Boko Haram as in the case of Rann and the speed with which it went to press was suspect.
Some residents of the area that were interviewed shared the same sentiment on the possibility of Amnesty International working in cahoots with either some foreign interests or with the Boko Haram terrorists themselves. It was therefore concluded that the hype around the Rann Attack is mischievous and misleading.
The team of researcher also carried out extensive investigations on the claims that Damaturu and Maiduguri to ascertain the veracity of the claims that the area has been under constant attacks. It was realized that the claims are mostly false and based on rumours and assumptions. The proponents of the claims did not bother to verify their claims before making it public knowledge.
From the reports gathered from locals and other credible sources, the Nigerian military has been able to maintain a firm grip of the security of most communities in North East Nigeria. This is contrary to claims in the public space that some communities in North East Nigeria were under the control of Boko Haram Terrorists.
Again, it is misleading and not the exact representation of the situation on the ground. As a fact, the special force battalion has been able to sustain a high level of morale amongst the troops which have reflected positively in their various operations in the North East.
The activities of some non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International have been misleading to members of the general public. Some NGOs have carried on their actions in such a manner that connotes espionage. They hide under cover of NGO to ask questions and demand for sensitive information especially on the operational strategies of the military.
It was also discovered that some of the NGOs have in their employ French-speaking staff from some francophone countries. This trend has further heightened the suspicion that some of the NGO s operating in North East Nigeria might be working against Nigeria’s interest.
Our researcher was able to uncover some details about some senior staffers in some of the NGOs that might suggest why they have been ferocious in their criticism of the operations of the Nigerian military in North East Nigeria.
For example, Awwal Rafsanjani who chairs the affairs of Amnesty International in Nigeria is a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). He has been known for his affiliations with the IMN since his university days in Bayero University Kano. It, therefore, would not be out of place to conclude that Amnesty International would indeed show bias in its reportage of the activities of the Nigerian military in North East Nigeria.
The researchers also identified another example in Isah Sanusi, the public relations officer of Amnesty International. Isah Sanusi is a former staff BBC Hausa and also a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and who is known to have promoted hate speeches, religious bigotry, and intolerance.
The research team concluded that Amnesty International and other organizations such as Transparency International (TI) and Civil Society Legislative Centre (CISLAC) carries on with an agenda that defeats objectivism in all ramification and with a penchant for spreading falsehood and half-truths to the general public.
There is relative peace in all the communities that were visited by the team of researchers at random cutting across the states and therefore corroborates the position of the Independent National Electoral Commissions’ position that elections can now take place in all the communities.
The efforts of the military are entirely laudable.
The relevant authorities must warn the populace on the dangers posed by some identified NGOs in North East Nigeria
The relevant authorities must begin a security audit of all the international NGOs operating in North East Nigeria.
The relevant authorities must begin the process of expelling organizations such as Amnesty International from Nigeria for its notoriety.
The relevant authorities must make it mandatory for all NGOs in North East Nigeria to submit a weekly report of its activities in North East Nigeria to the Nigerian Military for vetting and approval before making public.
The relevant authorities must peg the number of NGOs that can operate in North East Nigeria in a bid to curb espionage activities.
Nigerians should be more concerned about humanitarian issues and lack of infrastructure in the locality.