Amnesty International has responded to threats by a group in Nigeria to burn its offices and kill staff, saying it would not be deterred to stop speaking on human rights abuses in the country.
A group, Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights, sponsored by Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has asked Amnesty International to leave Nigeria within seven days.
The group threatened to kill all Amnesty International workers and burn down their Lagos and Abuja offices if the organisation refused to leave the country.
The group’s threat followed revelations by Amnesty International that at least 10 persons demanding an end to police brutality in the country were killed by the Nigerian Army during the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate area of Lagos on October 20.
According to a source in the military, one Philip Agbese from Benue State is the leader of the Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights and all other groups used for such sinister purposes by Buratai and other government officials.
Responding, Amnesty International said it has been consistently holding Nigerian Government responsible since June 1967 when it started working in and on Nigeria.
“Malicious threats will not deter us from continuing to speak against human rights violations and abuses by state and non-state actors,” it said.
It added that it would not be forced to abandon the role, noting that every victim of abuse had the right to immediate remedy.
“Amnesty International draws the attention of the Nigerian authorities and the general public to the intimidation and outright threats of attacks that were issued against its staff, supporters, and premises by a faceless and unknown group at a press conference held on 4 November, 2020.SEE
“Similar faceless groups had previously invaded our office and given us an ultimatum to leave Nigeria. Amnesty International is a global human rights movement and we are independent of any government.
“Our mandate is to hold authorities to account for their human right obligations and commitments. This we have consistently done since June 1967 when we first started working in and on Nigeria.
“Every person whose rights are violated is entitled to an effective remedy,” the group said.
Amnesty also said exposing human rights violations and seeking redress for them are largely dependent on the degree of security enjoyed by civil society groups.
It stressed that the government owes the people a legal duty to ensure the protection of lives and properties of every person in the country.