By Simon Ateba/Lagos @simonateba
Amnesty International has opened a new office in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to draw more attention to human rights abuses being committed by the country’s security forces and Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast.
“Nigeria has achieved remarkable things — but serious violations continue, unpunished,” said Amnesty International Secretary General, Salil Shetty.
“In establishing a permanent base in Nigeria, we want to send a clear message: Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the victims of human rights violations, alongside the individuals and organizations already fighting abuses.”
With the new office, responsibilities that were previously held in London have now been transferred to the new national office in Abuja which will act as the main base for the global movement’s research, campaign and communications work addressing human rights violations in Nigeria. The office has a staff of seven people and is led by M.K. Ibrahim.
“The new government has made promises of accountability, and we welcome that. Now, we must hold them to their words.”
Shetty said Amnesty International Nigeria will also strengthen partnerships with national human rights organisations and support campaigning by civil society organisations across the country.
“From the relatives of the thousands killed and missing in north-east Nigeria to the thousands of villagers in the Niger Delta who cannot plant crops or drink clean water because of oil pollution, Amnesty International will stand in solidarity with all the people in Nigeria who face human rights violations and abuses,” said M.K. Ibrahim, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“Having a permanent base in Abuja, will enable us to campaign harder, shout louder and deliver research and analysis into human rights abuses more rapidly than we could before. More than that, we will be able to stand in solidarity with Nigerian activists and human rights defenders who tirelessly seek justice and better rights for all in Nigeria.”