Protesters have stormed the Abuja office of the Amnesty International (AI), an international human rights organisation, and demanded its immediate exit from Nigeria.
The protesters arrived at the office located at Maitama, at about 2pm on Friday, with various placards accusing the organisation of “attempting to destabilise Nigeria.”
They also accused AI of being sponsored by the opposition, claiming that the human rights group was taking sides with “mischief makers”.
TheCable learnt most of the protesters were drawn from internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across the federal capital territory, although this could not be confirmed.
“Most of them were IDPs; I even recognised one from the camp along Abuja airport road,” an eyewitness told TheCable.
The protest comes two days after AI had asked Nigerian authorities to respect the rights of campaigners of a social media movement tagged ‘Revolution Now’.
The rights organisation had tweeted: “Authorities must respect the rights of #RevolutionNow movement to assemble and seek for freedom and just without fear or any intimidation. Nigeria belongs to all of us.”
The statement did not go down well with some Nigerians who accused the group of stepping beyond their boundary.
A particular Twitter user wrote via @mshelbwala: “Someone needs to call @AmnestyNigeria to order. A call for revolution in Nigeria is beyond their mandate. It is subversive and we the peace loving Nigerians will be out also to resist #RevolutionNow.”
@amnesty , @amnestyusa, @StateDept, @PoliceNG, @USEmbassyAbuja
Someone needs to call @AmnestyNigeria to order. A call for revolution in Nigeria is beyond their mandate. It is subversive and we the peace loving Nigerians will be out also to resist #RevolutionNow.
— Mshelbwala1 (@mshelbwala) July 31, 2019
‘WE WILL NOT STAY SILENT’
Reacting via a statement, Isa Sanusi, AI spokesman, said the group “will not stay silent” over the agitations which he described as “sponsored protests.”
“Amnesty International is a human rights organization and not affiliated to any interests, political, religious or commercial. We have been working on Nigeria since 1967 – our role is to hold governments to their obligations to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure that anyone whose rights are violated has an effective remedy,” the statement read.
“For this reason, the organization continues to call on the Nigerian government to use its authority and resources to investigate all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including of rape, torture, arbitrary detentions and unlawful killings, to ensure reparation for the victims, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to ensure non-repetition of the violations.
“Despite sponsored protests, we will not stay silent. In the face of efforts to evade responsibility or to smear our organization, we will continue to raise our voices whenever and wherever we see injustice, sexual abuse, discrimination against women, or any other violations of human rights in Nigeria.”