Nigerian scholars abroad, under the auspices of Association of Nigerian Scholars in Diaspora, ANSD, have faulted the recent report by the US Department of State on Corruption and Human Rights violation under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
A report by the US Department of State entitled, “2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” accused the Nigerian government and the military of arbitrary and unlawful killings.
However, ANSD believes that the report was apparently aimed at legitimizing criminal activities of terrorists and extremists in Nigeria.
The association made this known in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting to review the country reports on human rights practices for 2018.
Prof Bitrus Gamwa and Pita Agbese, President and Secretary General respectively who signed the communiqué on behalf of the Diasporan Nigeria scholars, outrightly rejected the report in its entirety and, therefore, called on other professional bodies of Nigerian origin to do the same, while mandating the Federal Government to communicate the rejection of the report in writing to the United States through its embassy in Nigeria.
The communiqué reads in full.
The Association of Nigerian Scholars in Diaspora on Monday March 25, 2019 in London, the United Kingdom met to review the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 published by the United States. Those in attendance held discussions that drew correlation with past incidents and the recently published report. They noted as follow:
The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the United States sometimes in March 2019 published its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.
The 2018 edition was the 43rd annual Country Reports on Human Rights published by the US and it continued in the tradition of maligning Nigeria and countries that it may have other issues with.
Preface to the 2018 report stated that “individuals seeking reforms to end the wrongful interference in the exercise of unalienable rights – whether those individuals are in or out of government – will find a sympathetic friend and strong supporter in the United States of America.”
The section of the report that pertained to Nigeria was filled with half-truths, misleading information and outright lies that are meant to subjugate Nigeria by way of bringing the country to heel in aligning with US geo-strategic interests even where they run contrary to Nigeria’s interests.
It deliberately took aim at crucial government agencies of Nigeria in a bid to make it appear like a repressive regime contrary to its democratic credential as a popularly elected government.
The report was a covert disguise for putting ammunition in the hands of the opposition as proven by the assertion made by the United States in (3) above, by which it accepts that it is willing to work with individuals that sabotage Nigeria provided they serve the interest of America.
The questionable support for criminals as itemized in (3) above is the excuse under which the United States issued the report and similar reports that undermine the Armed Forces of Nigeria for the benefit of terrorists like Boko Haram, ISWAP, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and militants in the Niger-Delta. These groups that qualify as terrorists by internationally accepted definitions are apparently being supported by the United States.
The support for the opposition and terrorists extends beyond tactical backing with reports like the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 include indirect arming of these groups with weapons that are first supplied to third party countries like Syria from where they will find their way into the hands of these US lackeys in Nigeria. The incursion of the US into Venezuela is a model that the opposition in Nigeria continued to use as blackmail against the government as they vowed to repeat something similar.
The US report made another attempt at delegitimizing the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 by presenting it as repressive, an inference that ignored the legislative process adopted by elected Federal Lawmakers to arrive at the legislation.
The meeting observed based on the linkages established with the antecedents of the US that:
The report is a recognized work of fiction taken too far. The kind of make-believe rendition and account of events showed that the people behind the report have lost the capacity to distinguish between what impacts the wellbeing of country’s citizens and the Hollywood script they modelled the report after.
Bearing in mind that a report is ordinarily supposed to be an academic work with facts and figures accurately stated to stand up to intense scrutiny and debates, the work of fiction being bandied around by the US group is a dent on the mental capacity of its authors.
It is most unfortunate that the US went ahead to publish the section meant to discredit Nigeria even when it is clearly does not meet the benchmark for a rigorous academic research to warrant being taken seriously by anyone anywhere in the world.
Considering the United States’ stated geo-political objective as stated in the general preface to the report, it is apparent that the assessment of Nigeria would have still been negative irrespective what steps the country had taken to address known lapses from decades ago.
The report is predicting and expectant of growing disaffection among the opposition, their becoming militarized and terrorists becoming more belligerent and escalating attacks against the state while the fear of censure would have pushed the military into inertia.
Following the background provided and the observations made, the Association of Nigerian Scholars in Diaspora resolved as follow:
The Association rejects the report in its entirety and invites other professional bodies of Nigerian origin to do the same, while mandating the Federal Government to communicate the rejection of the report in writing to the United States through its embassy in Nigeria.
The Association will withdraw recognition for any report to which the US government is connected or affiliated until it withdraws the questionable contents it has published against Nigeria. Such reports, including the Country Reports on Human Rights in its entire series, will not be recognized until the lies contained in the 2018 edition are corrected.
It urges all the government agencies that were maligned in the report to take advantage of the right of reply to set the records straight.
The Association urges the Federal Government to take all steps guaranteed under international conventions to demand that the United States correct the malicious lies being told against the country.
The meeting of the Association agreed to be proactive in preparing the correct assessment of Nigeria to coincide with the 2019 edition of the Country Reports on Human Rights to ensure that the records are not muddled up for Nigeria in another consecutive year.