US warned over report on Nigeria

Association of Nigerian Scholars in Diaspora, ANDS, on Thursday, faulted the recent report by the US Department of State on corruption and human rights violation under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

The association gave its position in a communiqué at the end of a meeting to review the country reports on human rights practices for 2018.

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.

Prof Bitrus Gamwa, the President and Pita Agbese, the Secretary-General, who signed the communiqué, urged the Federal Government to communicate the rejection of the report in writing to the United States through its embassy in Nigeria.

It said part of the report 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 noted that the report 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”

It reads: “The questionable support for criminals 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 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 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.

“It is most unfortunate that the US went ahead to publish the section meant to discredit Nigeria even when it 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.

“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.”