Amnesty International has said it will continue to work in Nigeria to ensure the rights of citizens are protected, regardless of threats from suspicious groups.
A group, the Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER), had given the international human rights organisation seven days to close its offices in Nigeria, accusing it of spreading misinformation about the shooting of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate in October.
Princess Ajibola, convener of CASLER, said should the organisation fail to leave, it should brace for civil disobedience at its offices “on a scale that will make the campaign of looting and arson it facilitated appear like child’s play”.
“Amnesty International’s offices and those of all its affiliated organisations and known supporters in Nigeria will be set upon the same way that its agents destroyed critical assets in the country. Its staffers will be treated the same way that innocent policemen lynched by mobs were treated,” she threatened.
In its response on Friday, Amnesty International described the group as faceless and unknown and said that this was not the first of such threats it would receive.
“Similar faceless groups had previously invaded our office and given us ultimatum to leave Nigeria,” it said.
“Amnesty International is a global human rights movement and we are independent of any government. Our mandate is to hold authorities to account for their human right obligations and commitments. This we have consistently done since June 1967 when we first started working in and on Nigeria.”
“Every person whose rights are violated is entitled to an effective remedy. Exposing human rights violations and seeking redress for them are largely dependent on the degree of security enjoyed by civil society groups like Amnesty International,” it added.
It urged the Nigerian government to ensure the protection of lives and properties of everyone within the country and stressed that “malicious threats will not deter us from continuing to speak against human rights violations and abuses by state and non-state actors”.
Again on Friday, the organisation tweeted that it would not stay silent and would continue to speak against injustice “despite threats to our lives, through faceless organisations and sponsored protests”.
“We will continue to call on the Nigerian government to use its authority and resources to investigate all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including; rape, torture, arbitrary detentions and unlawful killings,” it reaffirmed.
Amnesty International had reported that 10 of the peaceful protesters at Lekki were killed by officers of the Nigerian Army.
Later in October, it published a timeline of events that took place before, during, and after the shootings, and has continued to advocate for the investigation of what happened as well as justice for the victims.