By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Nigerian Military has said that a report released by the Amnesty International (AI) was a clear desperation targeted at blackmailing the Nigerian military.
The AI in its report claimed that soldiers killed older people, among others who were trying to flee from their homes in fear of Boko Haram terrorists.
The Military in a statement issued on Wednesday by Major General, John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, said the report in chapter 3 tagged; “Nigerian Military Crimes”, did not portray the military in good light.
“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.
For the entire so called research, the question is, to whom is the loyalty of the respondents selected by AI; Boko Haram or peace loving Borno citizens? However, it is desirable in the interest of the general public to bring out some contradictions in the report that tends to criminalize the Nigerian Military which is not true.
“On page 34 of the report it stated that it 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.”
The military said the accusation is also baseless as the military is guided by extant regulations and Rules of Engagement.
“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 and cannot detain civilians unlawfully.”
The report also stated that “In recent years, soldiers and CJTF members involved in ‘screening” have sent fewer older people, among other groups to detention. This report also states 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”.
The statement said “these among several others in the report are obvious contradictions to the portrayal of the Nigerian Military by AI.”