A political group in Nigeria has described an Amnesty International(AI) report on the farmers – herders clashes in the country as inciting, inchoate and misleading, stressing that the agency was by its report rejoicing and glorifying violence in Nigeria.
The Initiative to Save Democracy (ISD) stated that the report failed to consider a broad and historical view of the crisis, but deliberately limited the scope of its report from January 2016 to 2018 to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting readers.
President of the group, James Akinloye said that by considering only these two years the content of the report was inconclusive and thus misleading as the herders – farmers clashes predates the period under review and readers would be deliberately misled to think the crisis started only within the last three years.
The group went further to state that the title of the report HARVEST OF DEATHS was a clear indication that Amnesty International had ulterior motives and was seeking to incite violence in the country.
“To title a report Harvest of Deaths is not just insensitive but also wicked. It is an attempt by Amnesty International to push for unrest in the country at a time when the country is already enjoying relative peace. The content of the report only seeks to open healing wounds. No responsible agency fighting for human rights titles its report Harvest of Death. Such a nomenclature is a mockery of the dead to start with.
“It is also ill-timed. Two months to an election is not the time to put out a report on a very sensitive subject- matter except one has a motive that is egregiously wicked and prejudiced,” Akinloye said.
The ISD noted that the release of the report two months to an election suggests either sponsorship of its activities by members of the opposition party or an outright intention by the Amnesty International to influence the voting posture of Nigerians during the elections.
Akinloye argued that where a foreign body does a thing like this, it is investigated for election interference and a possible ban from the country.
He went further to note that: “the Amnesty report deliberately omitted a very significant arrest in the herders – farmers clashes; that is the arrest of Aliyu Tashaku who was the mastermind of most of the killings in Benue state which were masqueraded as clashes.
“The report falsely kept rehashing that government had not acted or arrested any persons, while failing to acknowledge the arrest of several Fulani herdsmen who were involved in killings and were being tried in courts in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau States. This reveals the bias of Amnesty International and its agenda to plunge Nigeria into violence. It also failed to acknowledge the role of several militia groups in the region, many of whom had been arrested by government security agencies.”
Mr Akinloye stated that in the last 4 months most of the communities in the North Central had been experiencing relative peace due to the efforts of the government including the bringing to justice of perpetrators of the heinous killings.
He further noted that the killings fell by over 90% in Benue State after the arrest of Alhaji Aliyu Tashaku who was reported to have been behind most of the killings in the state.
ISD noted that the government had done a lot and Nigerians were not blind to their efforts, it further called on the security agencies to increase their efforts to ensure a more peaceful country.
Mr Akinloye also added that the security agencies should, while investigating the many claims of Amnesty International, also investigate the body itself as it may be financed by persons seeking to distabilise the country