It is no longer surprising that these days, one can easily find group of protesters; either pro-government or anti-government groups, flooding the streets over one issue or the other.
Most remarkable are those for no just valid reason, coming out for pro-government protests in the most bizarre and irrational situation due to the inducement of the government while those marching against the brutality and despotic actions of the government must first seek police permission and at most times, their protest is violently disrupted by the Nigerian security operatives, while pro-government protesters are been shielded by these agencies.
We quite understand that times are very difficult but the unreasonable inducement of pro-government protesters these few weeks is indicative that the Federal government is not only clueless but lacks the wherewithal to proffer solutions to the problems and challenges confronting the country.
These past few weeks have witnessed a lot of rented mob storming the streets in favour of the government. It recently happened in Awka, Anambra state whereby some “hungry-for-hire” protesters stormed the streets of the holy hand in solidarity with President Muhammadu Buhari. Quite hilarious and despicable! One wonders what they are celebrating when the current predicaments of the country is not something to write home about.
Before then, we have witnessed various sickening pro-government protests in most cities in the country, one of which a woman confessed being bought for a paltry sum of five hundred naira which she didn’t receive anyway. In fact, the poor woman had to beg people for common sachet of water to quench her thirst after the rigorous protest. Quite shameful!
Most recently, we saw a non-existent anti-human rights group(Global Peace and Rescue Initiative, GOPRI), of which we can barely fathom where they reared their ugly head out from to barricade the Abuja office of Amnesty International, demanding their vacation from Nigeria within 24 hours over their human rights abuses report by the government, which they claimed is at the detriment of the Buhari-led government.
It is quite remarkable of the fact that this non-existent group had never been heard in any part of the country issuing press release or at best, condemning the nefarious, violent and excessive force exerted on innocent civilians of the country, but now, we find them defending the terrorist security forces and the mindless government of the country. What an irony of what their name stands for.
They pretend to be aiming for peace and accusing the international organization of wanting to destabilize the country but they have neither assessed nor investigate the information and evidence before them. So how can peace be achieved in the presence of injustice and atrocities against innocent people? Are they so blind to see the series of extra-judicial killings orchestrated by the government in power or did they just fall from the sky?
They seem to be arguing that it is acceptable for the Nigerian army and police to continue with their widespread human rights abuses, extra-judicial killings and massacres of innocent Nigerians and not being criticised by AI, because it is not in their best interest. Ignorance is indeed bliss!
It is despicable and a show of hypocrisy that these protesters are allowed to block roads, asking AI to shut down their operations and vacate Nigeria, whereas, they have not conducted their own research and publicly present the report just like AI have done before going ahead with their infamous #OccupyAI. By the way, those who wanted to protest against the Daura President must first get police clearance before embarking on such protest because they believe that anti-government protests can be easily hijacked by hoodlums and miscreants while protests in favour of government cannot be hijacked. What does that tell us?
The group claimed that the international organization is acting under the influence of their paymasters to destabilize Nigeria but when the Nigerian army and police assault, and murder innocent civilians and AI criticises them, how does such criticism profit the so-called AI’s masters? The AI, we know, does not accept contributions from governments and political parties for human rights research. It doesn’t have external masters — its masters (if they have any) would be the members. AI is no longer good but during Jonathan’s past administration, they were the best news reporters.
AI is not a Nigerian organisation. Although most of its staff in Nigeria are Nigerians. Nevertheless, western organisations work with acceptable international standards; and the methodologies used in collecting the information or conducting the research will have to meet these standards and (often) included in the report as in (say) PhD research. In this case, AI cannot afford to be reckless or careless with its researches and investigations for fear of smearing its hard earned reputation, goodwill and even donors. So before anyone accuse AI of operating in the ‘Nigerian way of doing things’, you must have to do your home work first.
This is what Amnesty International does all over the world; to keep governments and groups on their toes to ensure atrocities and human rights abuses are curbed, as much as possible and that is the reason why the Nigerian army desperately want to evict them from the country having failed to influence or threaten them, they rented protesters to indirectly do the hatched job for them.
Some of our local human rights bodies such as the National Human Rights Initiative, NHRI, are not only dormant but useless to those whose rights have been severely abused and more so when they are usually being influenced or threatened by the powers that be. The rented mob under the cover of GOPRI should have rather gone to the National Assembly Complex, and occupy the place indefinitely, until those corrupt politicians reduce their pay and allowances to the level consistent with public service.
However, if you succeed in chasing AI out of Nigeria, what legitimacy do other international peace initiatives have to remain behind? They all serve the same purpose of preventing global catastrophes. Amnesty International would have been completely irrelevant had they not spotted a lacuna in our system. It makes no sense for one NGO to be up in arms against another one. Until poverty and insecurity are comprehensively defeated, these agencies will always have work to do.
So because the so-called Nigerian security agencies are fighting to rid the country of the menace of terrorism or protect its artificial territorial integrity, they should do so in a manner more barbaric, unprofessional and violating all the international standards and rules of engagement in the guise of fighting evil? Or they should not be held accountable for atrocities committed in the line of their duty? If GOPRI is not being sponsored by some government-backed individuals then your government should arrest you all for threatening the peace of the country as well.
I wonder where the irresponsible group received the authority to give an organisation legitimately staying in the country an ultimatum to quit and leave? Are you an NGO or militants masquerading as an NGO? As an NGO, what project or assignment have you perfected in the past for the general good of the people?
We see you as a group of irrelevant noisemakers and charlatans who are being sponsored to disrupt public peace and gain cheap recognition for your infamy. Some members of our security forces are just as evil and animalistic as those they are supposedly protecting us from. It will pay us a whole lot of good if we begin to call a spade a spade. But in the meantime, Amnesty International can relocate their office to Biafraland and leave Abuja for them. Their duty is very important that nobody can halt it through whatever means or guise.
By Chukwuemeka Chimerue
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers