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Intersociety urges Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch to push for UN/AU Special Criminal Tribunal for Nigeria

  From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha   The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has called on Amnesty ...


From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha


The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has called on Amnesty International(AI), United Kingdom (UK) for the suspension and closure of the Nigerian Section of Amnesty International pending when it is sanitised and reorganised.


The group stated that the West/East African Regional Office of Amnesty International located in Dakar, Senegal should take over the affairs of the Nigerian Section with a non-Nigerian Rights campaigner recruited as “Newl Researcher on Nigeria” to ensure non-discrimination and professionalism.


The Intersociety in two Advocacy-Letters delivered to Dr Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, UK and Ms Tirana Hassan, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, USA signed its Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi expressed deep concerns over the goings-on in the Nigerian Section AI, especially since 2017.


The group also said apart from strongly suspected Nigerian State infiltration and interference, there are also strong allegations against the Nigerian-born handlers of the Nigerian Section bordering on partisanship, ethnic and religious biases and discrimination in matters of advocacy areas which have brutally excluded and shut out South-East, South-South and Middle-Belt, Nigeria’s hotbed of a state actor and non-state actor gross human rights abuses or violations from Amnesty International’s advocacy areas, activities and victims and activists’ advocacy benefits since 2016.


” It must be remembered that 24th Nov 2016 was the last time the Old Eastern Nigeria particularly the South-East was majorly represented in the AI’s scheme of advocacy works. This followed the release of AI’s globally celebrated Special Report: “At Least 150 Unarmed Pro Biafra Protesters Killed By Security Forces In South-East Nigeria”.


“Intersociety also made far-reaching demands and proposals as a way forward and specifically requested for leadership overhaul at Nigeria’s section of Amnesty International (AI-N) and recruitment of a new Researcher for HRW on Nigeria who must be non-Nigerian and unbiased in order to purge the HRW advocacy activities in the country of entrenched ethnic and religious biases and hatred and ensure non-discrimination and professionalism in the distribution of its advocacy activities in Nigeria or any part thereof.


“Strong accusations are pointing in the direction of the top leadership of the Nigerian section of the organisation to the effect that “a number of its present leaders are card-carrying members of the central ruling Party and political appointees of some sitting Governors in Northern Nigeria”. This, we seriously frown at and consider as a height of partisanship”.


 “The exhibition of ethnic and religious biases and hatred in Nigeria’s Amnesty International, as well as the suspected state infiltration and interference and discriminatory or selective advocacy activities, have become deeply entrenched that Nigeria’s AI career staffers and other stakeholders from Old Eastern Nigeria and the Old Middle-Belt including Southern Kaduna who protested or tried to effect such anti-East and Middle-Belt advocacy embargo were threatened, sabotaged, framed and forced out in Nigeria. We had also in our Advocacy Letter reminded Dr Agnes Callamard, AI’s Sec-Gen that the Nigerian Section of the organisation was once suspended and closed down by its International Secretariat around the late 90s or early 2000s for compromising the core Mandate of the global organisation including being mired in political partisanship, politicisation and compromises.


“The attention of Human Rights Watch Executive Director, Ms Tirana Hassan was drawn to drastic declines in the advocacy activities and denial of the HRW advocacy benefits to victims and potential victims of gross human rights abuses and violations including state-actor and non-state actor terrorism in Old Eastern and Middle-Belt Regions particularly since 2015; which have been checked and traced to the appointment in 2013 of Ms Mausi Segun as ‘Researcher on Nigeria’ and later in 2017 as ‘HRW’s Director for African Division’.


“It was also under her watch that another Nigerian, Ms Anietie Ewang was appointed to replace her as ‘Researcher on Nigeria’. Ms Mausi Segun was picked from the integrity-challenged Nigerian Government-owned National Human Rights Commission where she was a career staff. A cursory look at the advocacy activities of the HRW in Nigeria since 2013-2015 clearly showed that ethnic and religious biases have been responsible for the near-total absence of the advocacy works and benefits of the HRW in Old Eastern and Middle-Belt Regions of Nigeria comprising South-East, South-South and North-Central including Southern Kaduna.


“Intersociety also in its two Advocacy-Letters urged Amnesty International, UK and Human Rights Watch, USA to internationally campaign for conduct-atrocity justice accountability and end of impunity in Nigeria or any part thereof and use their global contacts, connections and influences to push for UN/AU Criminal Enquiries and Special Criminal Tribunal for Nigeria to look into more than 90,000 politico-religious deaths since 2009 or in a period of past fourteen years; including over 53,000 Christian death tolls and over 35,000 moderate Muslim death figures.


“This is in order to track the horrendous crimes of international concerns perpetrated and their perpetrators and victims in Nigeria or any part thereof. Intersociety cited recent international cases in point to include the creation of the AU Special Criminal Court in Senegal that tried and sentenced to life imprisonment former Chadian President, Hissene Habre in May 2016 during which AI and HRW played leading roles.


“Therefore, such UN/AU Special Criminal Enquiries/Criminal Tribunal are urgently needed in Nigeria to look into the country’s grisly and egregious rights abuses or violations since July 2009, track down and hold their perpetrators accountable.


“While urging Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to fully return their advocacy activities and benefits to Nigeria without discrimination as to ethnicity, religion, gender, class, age, occupation, identity and geographical locations of the victims and potential victims and their properties; Intersociety also called on them to end their age-long advocacy discriminatory practices against Nigeria’s Old Eastern and Middle-Belt Regions-Nigeria’s hotbed of gross rights abuses or violations,” Umeagbalasi stated.


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