By Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA – CIVIL Groups in their hundreds on Monday morning trooped to the streets of Abuja in a peaceful protest against the Amnesty International (AI) report against the Nigerian Military, describing it as vindictive, lacking in merit and an international conspiracy against the people of Nigeria.
The protest, which started around 9am from the Catholic church close to AYA junction down to the United Nations office in Abuja, according to the group, was to register its displeasure against AI report which discredited ‘our military’.
The AI report tagged: “Stars on their Shoulders, Blood on their Hands” had alleged extra judicial killing and human right abuses by the Nigerian Military in the ongoing war against Boko Haram in the northern part of the country, recommending top military officers, serving and retired for trial in International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.
The President of the Coalition of Civil Society Group (CCSG), EtukBassey Williams, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, told newsmen that most of the information in the AI report was largely false to satisfy a clandestine motive.
He alleged that the AI was commissioned by “some Muslim elites in the north, who are sympathetic to the Boko Haram cause” to sabotage the county’s efforts against insurgency.
Williams disclosed that they were in UN office to submit their stance to the UN Secretary General, Ban-ki-moon, demanding apology from AI while passing vote of confidence on the Nigerian Troops.
He maintained that Nigerians could not be pinched against their military through ‘cheap blackmail’, wondering why AI refused to focus its activities on Boko Haram and their sponsors, saying “AI should not play politics with terrorism, but be objective, meticulous and holistic in their assessment and investigations.
Continuing, he said; “Enough is enough! This is political witch-hunting, AI should be stopped. At this point, we are calling on UN secretary to call Amnesty International to order.
“The report of AI is political, inhuman and international conspiracy against the Nigerian Military and the people of Nigeria.
“AI should leave the Nigerian military alone with the good work they are doing against the Boko Haram. Since the Military started this war no international support, why should they (AI) come now and victimizing our military?
“We pass a vote of confidence on the Nigerian Military and also call on AI to withdraw that petition against the Nigeria Military in the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
While collecting the letter from the coalition for onward submission to the UN Secretary General, Ban-ki-moon, the UN official , who preferred anonymity said they would ensure that the report is delivered timely to the appropriate authority.
“We are not suppose to react to this, ours is to collect and submit to the UN Secretary General,” the official told reporters who asked him for reaction.