Nigerian protesters storm Amnesty International offices in Abuja urging NGO to leave

Ludovica Iaccino
Nigerian Barrister Zannah Mustapha

Protesters have stormed the offices of rights group Amnesty International in Nigeria on Monday (20 March) urging the organisation to leave the country within 24 hours. Members of the umbrella group Global Peace and Rescue Initiative (GOPRI) accused the NGO of trying to smear the reputation on Nigerian security forces, something Amnesty strongly denies.

The Executive Director of the group, Melvin Ejeh, said protesters were ready to occupy Amnesty's offices in the capital Abuja for five days, should the organisation refuse to leave.

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"Let us warn at this point that there will be no interval of respite if AI fails to leave Nigeria at the end of the five days as we will activate other more profound options to make the organisation leave Nigeria. We therefore use this opportunity to call on Nigerians to join the movement to get this evil out of our land before it plunges us into real war," Ejeh said, according to the Premium Times news site.

"Previous calls by concerned groups for the government to kick Al out of Nigeria for the safety of citizens have gone unheeded. Unfortunately, if this organisation is allowed to continue carrying out its atrocities here, it will destabilise Nigeria," Ejeh alleged.

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Earlier this year, Amnesty released a report accusing Nigerian forces of committing abuses against suspected members of terror group Boko Haram. The report alleged at least 240 Boko Haram suspects, including 29 children, died in overcrowded cells at Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, capital of restive Borno state.

This is not the first time that Amnesty has made similar allegations. In 2016, a report documented alleged abuses against supporters of a pro-Biafra movement calling for independence of territories in the southeast.

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The organisation also accused the Nigerian army of killing hundreds of members of the Shia minority during protests in Zaria,Kaduna State. Nigerian security forces have always rejected the accusations.

When contacted by IBTimes UK, Amnesty's office in Abuja refused to release any statement on the protests. However, IBTimes UK understands that Amnesty rejects all the allegations of unbiased reports and intends to continue its work in Nigeria.

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