August 26, 2019

Zamfara: Amnesty Int’l condemns Buhari’s ‘shoot at sight’ order on bandits

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President Muhammadu Buhari

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA- AN international civil society organization, CSO, Amnesty International Nigeria, AI, Monday, condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘shoot at sight’ order on bandits operating in Zamfara State. 

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President Muhammadu Buhari

The condemnation was made by the Chairman, AI, Nigeria, Auwal Rafsanjani, in a telephone interview with Vanguard on the update of protesters’ occupation of AI’s office in Abuja.

According to Rafsanjani, Buhari’s order undermines administrative justice, hence would lead to killings of innocent Nigerians in Zamfara State.

He also called on the President to have a rethink and retrieve the order, rather should allow the law to have its course on alleged bandits and not to take the place of the courts which are expected to handle such matters.

He said: “We are really in a very big mess as you can see that the President has directed shoot at sight at any bandits which we think is undermining the administrative justice system because if somebody is a suspected criminal he or she should be arrested and prosecuted in a competent court of law. It is only the court that can pronounce him or her the kind of offences he or she has committed or given the penalty or sanctioned.

“But if the President will direct shoot at sight this is dangerous because knowing how over-zealous security agencies are and would like to look at somebody and say he or she is a bandit, herdsman or what have you will kill the person without investigation.

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“We want the President to retrieve that directive because is a dangerous directive to give to security agents such directive that is waiting to act according to the President’s directive and it is against administrative justice.”

Meanwhile, the AI boss said protesters at his office in Abuja were deliberately sponsored to stop AI’s operations of exposing corrupt and human right abuses practices perpetrated by some government officials.

He added that the protesters have been used as victims of corruption by the corrupt persons in government, but AI would not give in to their threats and intimidation.

“The protesters have apparently got tired of coming because this is not based on any genuine concern. It is allegedly state-sponsored demand they are coming to ask Amnesty Nigeria to leave Nigeria forgotten that Amnesty Nigeria is fully registered in Nigeria and all its staff are Nigerians including the leadership, the chairman which is me, the Country Director, Ossai is Nigerian.

“They got it wrong and apparently is not on the basis on any honest or sincere concern but rather just to undermine the effort of Amnesty International not to document and expose the violation of rights and promote fundamental rights of Nigerians.

“Some of these people they don’t know what to do again, both who sponsored them and themselves, unfortunately, they are victims of the same people who sponsored them to come and stage a protest against an organization that cares for them and fight for their own rights.

“So I think those who sponsor them are not paying them who are unemployed and victims of the same bad governance that are now used to stage protest against Amnesty International Nigeria and other civil society organizations.

“We know that those who don’t want the media, civil rights organizations they are becoming so hostile and it is very unfortunate that those who benefited from the same protection we have demanded and we deed for them are now the ones turning against Amnesty International Nigeria and other civil society groups in Nigeria.

“We know that the shrinking of civic space is increasing, intolerance by public officials, civil rights organizations, organizations that fighting against corruption and for good governance”, he stated.