Chris Steven, Abuja
A non –governmental organisation, Social Welfare Network Initiative, has denounced Amnesty International for releasing its latest reports in which it accused top officers of the Nigerian military of killing about 8,000 innocent people in the war against Boko Haram insurgency.
National Coordinator of the Network, Mr. Emmanuel Olisaeloka Osemeka in a press statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday noted that Amnesty International’s disparaging report was biased against men of the Nigerian Army.
It added that it was a grand plot to commute Nigeria’s fine officers to the International Criminal Court, (ICC) thereby putting them under pressure and distract them from their patriotic action of curbing the dreaded Jihadists and defending the territorial integrity of the country.
“We will not accept it, we reject the reports in its entirety and we wish to state in clear terms that no amount of intimidation employed by groups or enemies of the state will deter us from supporting our heroes. The report should be shredded completely.
“Where was this so called Amnesty International when Boko Haram was slaughtering innocent Nigerians including some our finest officers, are they not aware that Boko Haram have in some occasion taken over some of our military barracks in Baga and Gwoza, are they not aware that military uniforms belonging to Nigerians were carted away by this same elements,” he said.
He said further in the statement that the group supports the ongoing forensic investigation being carried out by our Armed Forces to ascertain the veracity of the claims of Amnesty International adding that all the heinous crimes the military is accused of are the signature of Boko Haram.
“Our military is not known to carry out such extra-judicial killings; they are populated by the most disciplined officers across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
Therefore, we urge our President and Commander in Chief, Muhammadu Buhari to work closely with the top military hierarchy and ensure total restoration of peace and tranquility in the North East and every part of Nigeria without fear or favour,” he said.
On June 3, Amnesty International released its latest findings on alleged atrocities of the military, calling for the prosecution of nine retired and serving military commanders, which it blamed for the death of 8,000 people during the counter-terrorism activities in the north east.
The report entitled “Star on Their Shoulders, Blood on Their Hands” said it relied on over 400 interviews with ex-prisoners, Nigerian officials and high ranking military officers, highlighting 27 cases of extrajudicial executions, including one in March 2014, when at least 640 young men and boys were allegedly executed after Boko Haram attacked Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri , Borno State.
AI stated further that the army cruelly killed thousands of men and boys after they were rounded up from Boko Haram stronghold.
“Many were shot dead inside detention facilities, while others were either shot or had their throats cut after being captured during cordon-and- search operations,” Amnesty International said.