By Karen Goulding
A lot has been said about the activities of Amnesty International in Nigeria. I recall a certain period where there were agitations for the AI to be expelled from Nigeria due to the questionable way and manner it has carried on as regards the war against insurgency in North-East Nigeria and other human rights-related issues.
I struggled to come to terms with the expulsion demands because I am not one that goes with the crowd in most instances. I like to be objective in my analysis of events and situations to be able to put issues in proper perspective rather than dwell on assumptions which in most cases are not a reflection of the reality on the ground.
Consequently, I devoted a substantial part of my time to research extensively on Amnesty International, not just in Nigeria, but other countries where it is active and I must add that the revelations were mind-boggling. Mind-boggling in the sense that I was confronted with an organization whose modus operandi is shrouded in secrecy and questionable motives.
My verdict is this. Amnesty International as an organization is fraught with irregularities and motives propelled by pecuniary gains. Thiers is such that you need to have an eagle eye to be able to see through the veil covering the activities of Amnesty International. Upon realization of this fact, I now reckoned that indeed there was some element of truth in the allegations the organization is working in cahoots with some vested interest in ensuring Nigeria is continuously on the limelight for the wrong reasons.
For me, there are two issues that I would like to comment on. One is the fact that it took the government of Nigeria a while to understand the motives of the organization and two is the fact that the government of Nigeria has not been assertive enough in confronting the half-truths peddled by Amnesty International in its yearly reports.
This is indeed a shame that as a people, we have allowed Amnesty International to get away with their dubious trade unabated in the past years. I am also appalled with the fact that those saddled with the responsibility of gathering sensitive information on threats to the sovereignty of Nigeria either by commission or omission refused to act despite glaring pieces of evidence of wrongdoings.
I can make an excuse. However, it is beyond me, but the future of over 200 million Nigerians who have nowhere to call home other than Nigeria. It further insults our sensibilities that we have an organization like Amnesty International serving as a collaborator in the covert plot to cause the disintegration of Nigeria. If this is not a failure, I don’t know what else to call it.
However, I am consoled with the fact that the relevant authorities in Nigeria are now alive to their responsibility and taking steps towards putting Amnesty International in check. Also, this has been quite unpalatable for them because it is no longer business as usual. They have cried wolf where non exist. They have also made unsubstantiated allegations all in a bid to curry public sympathy. But to no avail.
I must add that the past four years has been indeed traumatic for Nigeria due to the half-truths contained in the yearly reports of Amnesty International. One of the revelations of my study of the activities of Amnesty International is the fact that its annual reports are laced with illogical conclusions and outright insinuations. And guess what? It has been garbage in and garbage out with no meaningful improvement in its style. What they do mostly is to move words and sentences year in, year out.
And this is the thrash that Nigerians have continuously been fed with under the guise of human rights watchdog. My consolation is that fact that everything that has a beginning also has an end and I dare say that the end has come for Amnesty International and its cohorts in Nigeria. I am not sure they can sustain their trade anymore in Nigeria due to the level of awareness of their activities in recent times.
The era of half-truths has been replaced. The period of playing with the intelligence of Nigerians is also gone, and the period of peaceful departure is here before us. This fact they must come to terms with and take the honourable path of quitting Nigeria because their continued stay in Nigeria would serve no purpose for them and their paymasters.
At this point, I wholly commend the relevant authorities in Nigeria for tolerating the mischief of Amnesty International in the past years. That there has not been any restive situation is indeed a testament to the patience and diplomatic nature of the relevant authorities in Nigeria. And I dare to say that were it to be in other climes; the story would have been different.
Amnesty International must respect Nigeria and Nigerians and as a matter of urgency put an end to their misdemeanour in the interest of peace. Nigeria is a sovereign nation, and its people are more than resolute in ensuring that the country stays united. I am quite convinced that no amount of blackmail and conspiracy can break the Nigerian spirit as it stands.
My position is a piece of advice that must be taken seriously by the promoters of Amnesty International. Nigeria is not their market. And it would never be for self-evident reasons.
Goulding wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.