As a result of the mayhem and mass carnage that is going on in Nigeria, Amnesty International (AI), the global watchdog, has accused the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari of not doing enough to protect lives and property in Nigeria.
AI decried the alarming escalation of attacks, abductions for ransom and frequent killings across the country, which have left people feeling more unsafe, show utter failure of the government to protect lives and property.
In a statement by its Director in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, to mark the global watchdog’s 60th anniversary, AI said the incessant killings and the failure of the authorities to end them and bring suspected perpetrators to justice have continued to be a threat to the right to life in the country.
“Incessant killings and the stunning failure of the authorities to end them and bring suspected perpetrators to justice have been and continues to be a threat to the right to life in Nigeria. From the days of military’s heavy-handed rule to the years of civil rule and up to today violation of human rights by both state actors and abuses by non-state actors continue to be matters of concern,” Ojigho said.
Amnesty International which said it started working on Nigeria on June 1, 1967 with an intervention on the Nigerian civil war which ended in 1970 and when the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, was declared a prisoner of conscience, added that not much has changed about human rights in Nigeria since then.
It noted that “the concerns remain flagrant disregard for human rights, failure of authorities to protect the people, threats to human rights including the right to freedom of expression, suppression of dissenting voices and lack of accountability.”
According to Ojigho, “While facing violations or policies that undermine people’s rights, Nigerians always resort to protest – and other peaceful means of seeking change. But violent clampdown on protests remains a major area of human rights violation. Protest is not a crime and Nigerians must be able to assemble peacefully and express themselves without fear.
“We are concerned that the civic space is shrinking and the fear of violence by security forces and sponsored thugs are undermining the right to peaceful protest, and having profound impact on other human rights.”
The group lamented that Nigeria has consistently failed to bring perpetrators of crime to justice and in most cases, victims of human rights violations hardly get justice.
It noted that failure to bring violators to justice is a stain on Nigeria’s image, advising that law enforcement and judicial system must be empowered to deliver justice.
“Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities, at all levels, to invest in people’s welfare and prioritize access to education, health care and other basic public services. Leaders must be accountable to the people and must also listen to what they are saying.
“At 60 Amnesty International is geared to do more for the protection and promotion of human rights. The organization will broaden its work in Nigeria to ensure that suspected perpetrators of human rights violations face justice, and that victims enjoy access to effective remedies. The organisation will continue to insist that authorities respect the rights of everyone. People deserved to live with dignity and to enjoy the right to due process of law. Our research work from 1967 shows a pattern of disregard for human rights. This must change,” Ojigho said.