By Joseph Erunke & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—Defence Headquarters has dismissed claims by Amnesty International, AI, that security forces were alerted of impending invasion of Dapchi town by Boko Haram terrorists before the abduction of students of Government Girls’ Secondary Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
Amnesty International had in a report released late Monday night, faulted the military over the abduction of the female students in the North East,saying the Nigerian security forces were intimated of the planned attack of the town by the terrorists group, yet could not swiftly act to avert the situation.
But responding to the claim in a statement, yesterday, Defence Headquarters insisted that contrary to the claim of the international rights monitoring group,”no security force was informed of Dapchi schoolgirls abduction as alleged by AI.”
The statement signed by its spokesman, Brigadier-General John Agim, read: “Nigerian public and the international community should know that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional military and has attained the highest form of professionalism in line with international best practices.
“Apart from questioning the motive of Amnesty International, it is pertinent to state that most of their narratives are outright falsehood and a calculated attempt to whip up sentiments and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians, demoralise friendly nations and people collaborating with security forces to end the forces of evil in the North-East.
“It is not proper for an organisation, such as AI, who does not mean well for Nigeria going by their previous reputation of denigrating the security forces anytime they make gains against the forces of evil, to incite the Nigerian public and international community against the military.
“Amnesty International always brings out damning reports about the Nigerian military at strategic points. They did that accurately in the previous administration and the United States invoked the Leahy law against Nigeria at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Within this year, Amnesty International issued reports against the military in January 2018, February 2018 and now March 2018. The question is; what is the motive of the AI?
‘’The answer is simple: President Trump of the United States of America has agreed to collaborate with the current government of Nigeria to end insurgency in the North East and AI wants to do everything within its powers to make sure the US-Nigeria anti-terrorism cooperation does not succeed in accordance with their paymasters design.
“The question Amnesty International has not answered satisfactorily is which of the security forces and what unit was informed that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading towards Dapchi where they abducted Dapchi schoolgirls? What were the telephone numbers used to inform the military or the Police?
“Why has AI refused to communicate its findings to the Federal Government’s committee set up to investigate what happened before, during and after Dapchi girls abduction? Is AI trying to undermine the outcome of this committee?
‘’The answer is simple: AI is not ready to contribute towards finding a solution to our problems, if anything, they are ready to complicate the problems.”
AI report has vindicated us — PDP
Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, described AI’s revelation as heartrending, distressing and disappointing, saying the position of the organisation was a vindication for the party.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement commended AI for its courage in exposing the truth, adding that the report further underpinned speculations of conspiracy theorems around the abduction and places a huge moral burden on the Presidency.
The party said: “This revelation by the Amnesty International has finally exposed the Buhari-led Federal Government and its manifest failures, deceptions and culpability in the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate abduction of our daughters.
“The world can now see why the Presidency and APC have been suppressing information on the abduction and why no firm steps have been taken to unravel the real reasons behind security lapses like the withdrawal of troops from the area as well as those behind the false rescue report, which frustrated the genuine effort to save our daughters.”