Amnesty International Nigeria condemns Zamfara, Adamawa for forcing closure on NGOs

Amnesty International, NIgeria has expressed their disapproval of the government's decision to suspend the activities of local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

International Human Rights Association, Amnesty International Nigeria, has expressed their disapproval of the government’s decision to suspend the activities of local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in two northern Nigerian states. The director of the international organization, Osai Ojigho, has officially spoken on the matter with the media.

She has vehemently opposed the Northern governments’ crackdown on independent organizations and human rights defenders. Ojingho reiterated that Adamawa and Zamfara states must allow the organizations to carry out their work freely.

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On 28 February, The Governor of Adamawa, Governor Umaru Fintiri, suspended the activities of all NGOs operating in his state. He believes that the Non-Government Organizations are allegedly “drifting from their mandate of providing humanitarian assistance”. With this, the Governor accused them of trying to influence voting in recent elections.

Before Governor Umaru Fintiri announced the closure of NGOs, the Zamfara state government also issued a similar order for all Non-Government organizations to stop operating. The government of Zamfara supported their decision will the claims that the NGOs are involved in “illegal activities, including non-compliance with rules governing NGOs, and engaging in activities which fuel insecurity.

Amnesty International Nigeria has responded to the issue through their director Osai Ojigho. She has urged the state governments operating in the Northern Nigeria region to reverse the arbitrary expulsion of non-governmental organizations. She has alleged that the governors target organizations solely for their normal duties.

Meanwhile, The director of the Nigerian chapter of Amnesty International claimed that the NGOs work to save lives and that the closure of their services will mostly hurt the vulnerable communities they serve.

Osai Ojigho asserted that the two states are facing severe issues of insecurity and conflict. In light of the situation, the suspension of NGOs is repressive and directly attacks the civic space. Accordingly, the Amnesty representative recommended the authorities of the two states refrain from such dictatorial exercise of powers. Instead, she suggested the state leaders focus on rebuilding and resettling communities displaced by years of attacks by bandits and insurgents.

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