Nigerian Govt Accuses Amnesty International of Supporting 'Lawlessness'

Amnesty International logo (file photo).

The Presidency on Sunday questioned the activities of Amnesty International, a group that advocates human rights and freedom.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how 'pro-government' protesters mounted a demonstration outside the Abuja office of Amnesty International on Friday.

Amnesty International had condemned some activities of the government like the detention of the Shiites Islamic Movement's leader, Ibrahim El-zakyzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, against court orders.

Another issue for which the group criticised the Nigerian government was the arrest of SaharaReporters' publisher and activist, Omoyele Sowore, over the planned protest against bad governance.

In a tweet on its social media handle, the presidency said it has no objection to the activities of Amnesty International but questions 'their promotion of tweets that call for the overthrow of the Nigerian constitution'.

"The Government of Nigeria has absolutely no difficulty with @amnesty, and no objections to the work that they do in line with their stated mandate. But does @AmnestyNigeria have any defence for their promotion of tweets that call for the overthrow of the Nigerian constitution?"

However, in a press statement issued by Isa Sanusi, a spokesperson of the group on Saturday, Amnesty international clarified its aims and objectives.

"Amnesty International is a human rights organization and not affiliated to any interests, political, religious or commercial. We have been working on Nigeria since 1967 our role is to hold governments to their obligations to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure that anyone whose rights are violated has an effective remedy."

"For this reason, the organization continues to call on the Nigerian government to use its authority and resources to investigate all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including of rape, torture, arbitrary detentions and unlawful killings, to ensure reparation for the victims, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to ensure non-repetition of the violations."

The human rights group said it remained undaunted by the "sponsored protests" and would continue to carry out its duties in the country.

"Despite sponsored protests, we will not stay silent. In the face of efforts to evade responsibility or to smear our organization, we will continue to raise our voices whenever and wherever we see injustice, sexual abuse, discrimination against women, or any other violations of human rights in Nigeria."

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