Post Views: 166 Amnesty International (AI), has condemned Friday’s suspension of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) f...
Amnesty International (AI), has condemned Friday’s suspension of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) from operating in the Nigeria’s troubled North-East region, over allegations of spying and collaborating with Boko Haram.
The Army had in the statement suspending UNICEF operations, accused the organization of engaging in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter terrorism and counter insurgency efforts of troops.
Responding to the Nigerian army’s suspension, which was however rescinded on Friday night, Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, described it as an absurd attempt “to demonize UNICEF’s lifesaving work in the northeast of the country, where the Boko Haram conflict has created one of the deadliest humanitarian disasters in the world. “
The suspension on allegation that UNICEF of ‘aiding Boko Haram’, the statement added, is “as part of a wider drive to intimidate international humanitarian and human rights organizations who are working to save lives in this devastating conflict.”
If nothing else, AI said “the suspension of UNICEF will in fact deprive those whose lives have been devastated by the Boko Haram conflict from receiving much-needed humanitarian assistance.
“We call on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the suspension of UNICEF immediately. The Nigerian military should focus on protecting lives rather than smearing NGOs.”
In a surprise move, the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE, on Friday night announced the lifting of what it said was a three-month “suspension earlier imposed…”
The decision to lift the suspension, according to Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director Public Relations of the Theatre Command, was reached at an emergency meeting with representatives of the agency.
At the meeting, sequel to intervention by well meaning and concerned Nigerians and extensive deliberations on the need to seek modalities to work harmoniously with the security agencies in the theatre of operation, the UNICEF representatives, he noted, were admonished “to desist from activities inimical to Nigeria’s national security.