Largely, Nigerians can be described as very docile people in many respects. They are complacent and most times take nothing serious or anything to heart. Contrastively, when Nigerians focus attention on any issue that bothers them, hardly do they extinguish the fire until they consummate a pleasing conclusion.
The widespread outrage provoked by the 2016/2017 report of human rights abuses released recently by Amnesty International (AI), a foreign human rights organization, typified the Nigerian character of protest over a vexatious issue. They never agreed with the tenor and factuality of the report which alleged sweeping human rights abuses in the country by security agents. The stand-off against AI was understandable, as the report ostensibly gingered terrorists who began tormenting the country again, a day after its release.
Even Nigerians who hardly bother themselves with current affairs have noticed the marginal increase in suicide bomb attack incidents by Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in Borno state, Nigeria’s Northeast in the last two weeks. Nigerians undoubtedly knew that the heightened tempo of terrorism in the country now is an off-shoot of the seeming commendation and undeserved protection, Amnesty International gave these criminal gangs in their report.
The apparently fabricated report resentfully took a backlash on security agencies in Nigeria, accusing them of human rights violations in its prosecution of the counter-insurgency campaigns in Nigeria and other troubling insurrections across the country. It was obvious to Nigerians that AI was fouled by its own dung. It ignored basic standards and never consulted widely to ascertain the veracity of the claims, but rushed to the public with a half-barked and half-cooked tissue of lies to defame the integrity of security institutions in the country.
Nigerians were moved to shed emotional tears, upon reading the obvious siding of terrorists or other armed and violent criminal gangs in the country by AI, which re-baptized and garbed them with the robes of saints. Nigerians found it inexcusable for AI overlooking the devilry of terrorists, who oppressed innocent citizens; downplayed the strength of their weapons, the heinous crimes or seriousness of the atrocities they committed in the pursuit of devilish inclinations.
Nigerians marveled that the blood of innocent victims terrorists recklessly spilled never mattered. The gruesome murders they committed such as slitting the throats of their preys, rape, forced marriage, arson and carnage were all dismissed by AI, as unqualified for inclusion in their definition of human rights violations.
The most amazing aspect of the AI’s report showcased a lopsided and biased identification of the so called human rights abuses of terrorists, but gleefully veiled Nigerians who these satanic gangs dehumanized, chillingly murdered, raped and confined in bondage of their caves and dungeons. But if terrorists have human rights worthy of respect as proclaimed by AI; why is the human rights watchdog blind to the human rights of law-abiding and innocent Nigerians terrorists decapitated in the most dehumanizing ways?
As soon as the AI’s infamous report went viral, their suspected terrorism clients went wild in jubilation. And in order to appreciate them for doing a “wonderful” job of hacking into the serenity and peace of Nigerians, Boko Haram insurgents regrouped and re-energized into the trenches to again begin another round of tormenting Nigerians.
Nigerians have observed that terrorists resumed with renewed vigour in the erroneous belief that the security agencies of Nigeria have been cowed and frightened enough about the sacredness of their human rights to confront them.
For that reason, it is not completely strange that Nigeria’s Northeasterners, who celebrated months of peace and kick-started the rebuilding of their ruined villages and communities have been pushed into a fresh anxiety about their safety. The terrorists are haughtily back with more bombs and planning to unleash more incredible mayhem on the poor people of Northeastern Nigeria, having been ennobled by backers like AI. This is completely unacceptable and no matter the extent of the veiled shadows of AI, it has not prevented Nigerians from sighting their evil machinations.
It is clearly discernible that AI is testing the patience of Nigerians by this inordinate interference. They cannot stray into Nigeria and celebrate criminals who murder Nigerians so mindlessly. It’s a sour tale.
But least they forget, Nigerians are very resilient people who are not easily conquered by conspiracies or the mere sounds of the drums of hate. They have the capacity to absorb shocks and bring out the best in every depressing situation. They are adept in taking their destinies into their hands and would not submit to agents of destabilization or disguised imperialism, as postured and preached by the unconscionable AI and its collaborators.
Nigerians know that its government will neither kowtow to the whims of caprices of these dark forces nor surrender its citizens to be slaughtered like goats on the slaughter slab. The Nigerian government and all its institutions that were wrongly accused by Amnesty International are more determined to take the bull by its horns now than previously obtained.
As a responsible government and notwithstanding the anger and pains, the government has gone back to work towards ensuring that Nigerians are not gruesomely murdered or dehumanized in any form by Boko Haram insurgents or tormented by armed gangs in other parts of Nigeria for their refusal to embrace destructive philosophies and ideologies they detest.
Consequently, AI can organize a feast for criminal gangs and terrorists in the country or even confer them with undeserving status at the expense of peaceful Nigerians with their report, but it cannot veil the truth.
It may interest AI to know that Nigerian citizens have decided to take their destinies into their own hands and manage it properly to salvage themselves from armed barbarians of whatever hue. But in the meantime, Nigerians are pleading with AI to leave the country because their services are no longer needed. It is the legitimate and inalienable right of Nigerians to decide which visitors are worthy of their hospitality.
Asking AI to leave Nigeria is not a difficult request for them to defile compliance. This is all that Nigerians are asking at the moment and it is not asking for too much. And it behooves on AI to oblige, because it is the conviction of Nigerians that hence AI is a rights organization it will amount to playing a double standard if they decline from respecting the rights of the millions of citizens of Nigeria who do not want them in their midst anymore. Let them prove to the world that they really respect the rights of others by comply with this plea to leave Nigeria.
And Nigerians are convinced about it because with AI’s recent activities within the country, the organization has over stayed the proverbial African welcome and hospitality in Nigeria and the time to quit is now. They should be good ambassadors of their organization by respecting the rights of citizens of Nigeria.
Candidly, good dancers know do not wait for the final whistle before they quit the stage. But they quit the dance floor when the ovation is loudest to retain their prestige. It is better for Amnesty International to quit Nigeria now than wait for the final whistle. A word is enough for the wise. But whatever is their mindset; Nigerians will no longer condone and tolerate them in Nigeria.
Ojo is a human rights lawyer and sent in this piece from Lagos.