A stitch in time saves nine is a time worn expression but the extent to which we live by this dictum as a nation is to be seen in the way we address issues of national importance. The New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICreL), a non-governmental organisation, has asked the government to probe the role that its international colleague, Amnesty International plays in the country especially its growing romance with militants operating in the oil rich Niger Delta region.
NICreL, it will appear, has a long running distrust for Amnesty International (AI). It has seen the hand of the fellow NGO in a lot of security breaches in the country from Boko Haram, through Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to encouraging criminals to attack and kill security operatives without expecting those in uniform to be able to protect themselves. Amnesty International gets named in them all.
Its reports, NICreL fears, are usually aimed at intimidating security and military personnel into inaction thereby allowing those threatening the population the free hand to commit crimes without having to face consequences. To this end, its reports are credited with offering more cover to Boko Haram Terrorists to operate than they do for legitimate law enforcement agencies.
The Nigerian NGO is not the only entity to have expressed such misgivings about AI. There have been instances in the past when other groups argue that the international NGO cherry picks events and occurrences to arrive at its indictment of security or military personnel with their institutions. Besides, even the witnesses it decides to interview have been alleged to be plants that are usually carefully selected, coached and brief on what to say using fixers. Extreme cases of paying for acting classes for witnesses to be able to present convincing testimonies before public panel made the list of infractions that Amnesty International routinely commits in the course of stitching evidence together for its ends.
Two factors allow AI to get away with this outrageous conduct in Nigeria. It leverages on its international stature, knowing fully well that nations will not like to openly confront it because of the bad PR fallout that would inevitably result notably because of the clout of those it represents. The second factor derives from the first, which is the fact that populations that are unaware of its true identity still take its words as cathedral.
It is therefore not surprising that militants that have been committing economic genocide in the Niger Delta see Amnesty International as the lucky charm to invoke to allow them continue their reign of crimes unabated. With apology to NICreL, what the militants see as their legitimate right includes the right to commit arson, sabotage, robbery, treason and murder without being challenged. Anyone that commits any single one of these is liable to facing the consequences prescribed by the laws but ‘militants’ must not be held to the same standards on account of either their ethnic nationality or geographical location and Amnesty International is the one to ensure this rule applies.
The militants, notably the Niger Delta Avengers, have already named AI as their preferred umpire – the partial observer-judge that ensures they commit crimes while the state is shackled to prevent responses. It constantly swats any objections that state institutions have with threats of an outing at the International Criminal Court. It worked in the past with demoralising troops for Boko Haram to have a free reign and it worked before in countries where Amnesty International had supervised wholesale destruction.
That Nigeria has survived the series of onslaught by this questionable entity must be down to so many things including those times that the government did things expected of sovereign states while damning the political correctness that invaders use to lure nations into complacency. If Nigeria must survive further, it must immediately show this monster that its perception does not count with us as a nation anymore especially when we know the roles they played in the destabilisation of nations like Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen where its cooked up reports precipitated imposition of no flight zones that allowed terrorists overrun those countries.
The Nigerian Government has taken things for granted for too long but the call to action by NICreL is an eye opener, a wakeup call for the government to act. It must tell Amnesty International off by making it clear that its brand of human rights monitoring is not welcome in Nigeria. It cannot keep quiet and be waiting in one corner while terrorists cause economic hardship that is plaguing millions in the Niger Delta with the prospect of starvation only for the same entity to surface sometimes in the future to defend these same criminals against the state, which has responsibility to prevent the annihilation of its population.
The speed with which the militants called for AI’s intervention confirmed them as actors in an elaborate script that has been perfected to achieve some yet to be disclosed wicked motives against Nigeria. The government must find out what this plot is so that it can use the facts so acquired to make its case against the NGO at the relevant places as suggested by NICreL. This is the one instance in which it must not wait for Amnesty International to begin running propaganda for terrorists before it starts doing a knee jerking reaction.
On its part, Amnesty International should apologise to Nigeria for the many instances of sinning against the land with its contrived reports that were only meant to give evil groups the upper hand over the state. It should give the apology a bit of action by quietly folding up its operations here and leaving us in peace to sort out our own affairs.
– Inuwa sent in this piece from Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State