Some 33 civil rights bodies on Tuesday condemned what they called Nigeria’s threats towards Amnesty International over a recent report chronicling alleged rights violations in the country.
The civic and rights groups -- including prominent bodies like the Center for Democracy and Development and workers’ umbrella body the Nigeria Labor Congress -- said in a joint statement that the government and army's responses to the report were threats devoid of facts to refute the allegations.
“We as stakeholders in the human rights community in Nigeria are concerned about the incessant attacks and criticisms of human rights and humanitarian organisations by the Nigerian Government and its security agencies, in particular the Nigerian military and security services,” said the statement.
“We totally condemn threats and intimidation of UNICEF and Amnesty International Nigeria by the Nigerian military and security services, especially as even the Presidency has joined in the fray," it continued.
"That these threats are always issued against Amnesty International Nigeria whenever it issues a report detailing credible allegations of human rights violations in Nigeria shows that the attacks are aimed at gagging the organization, undermining credible human rights reporting and covering up systemic violations of human rights.”
The reference to UNICEF followed the military’s recent suspension -- now withdrawn -- of the UN agency over alleged espionage and sabotage of government counterinsurgency operations in the northeast region.