Defence HQ Queries Amnesty International’s Report Criminalising Nigerian Military

The Nigerian Military has reacted to the recent report released by Amnesty International in which it (NM) had been indicted of having committed ‘Nigerian Military Crimes’.

The reaction was contained in a press release issued yesterday, 9 December, from the Defence Headquarters, signed by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, and meant to clarify the air with regards to some of the issues in the report.

According to the statement, ‘In the first place, the so-called research does not meet the universal academic or global best practice criteria, of having the justifiable percentage of sample in the population, claimed to have been investigated and thus may not be credible’, which begs the question: where lies the loyalty of the respondents selected by AI; Boko Haram or peace loving Borno citizens?

The statement, in the interest of the general public, highlights some of the contradictions in the report that tends to criminalize the Nigerian Military, which they (NM) claim are false.

‘On page 34 of the report it stated; “AI interviewed only a few older people who had fled Boko Haram areas during 2020, so was unable to determine if there had been changes in the military’s behavior over the last year”. Note; the inability of AI to determine the military’s behavior. Additionally, in the said report, the AI claimed that soldiers killed older people, among others who were trying to flee from their homes. This accusation is also baseless as the military is guided by extant regulations and Rules of Engagement’ the statement read.

‘AI also admits on page 36 of their report that “during previous Amnesty International research, some former detainees, including children, admitted openly that they had been in the armed group – sometimes through recruitment and other times through abduction. AI cannot rule out that older people interviewed for this report at times supported Boko Haram”. This is to buttress the fact that the military will not and cannot detain civilians unlawfully’.

Additionally, the statement went on, AI stated that “In recent years, soldiers and CJTF members involved in ‘screening” have sent fewer older people, among other groups to detention”, and also that, “Conditions have improved in recent years, especially as the Red Cross received more access to some military detention facilities, including GIWA”.

Furthermore, the report stated that, “In recent years, soldiers have increasingly refrained from detaining older people fleeing Boko Haram controlled areas”.

These among several others in the report, says the statement, are obvious contradictions to the portrayal of the Nigerian Military by AI, a d as such, ‘it is a deliberate attempt to discredit the Nigerian Military in the fight against insurgency and terrorism in the North East which should be resisted’.

The statement also assures Nigerians that the Armed Forces of Nigeria will not be deterred in the fight to rid the country of terrorists and criminals despite the allegations. ‘The report is clear desperation targeted at blackmailing the Nigerian Military, and therefore should be discountenanced’.

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