Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Some protesters believed to have been sponsored by the Federal Government were seen complaining about the failure of their sponsor to pay for the demonstration which held outside the office of the rights group, Amnesty International, on Colorado Street, Maitama, Abuja, on Tuesday
In a video posted on the Twitter handle of AI, one of the protesters said in Hausa that some of them didn’t even have up to N5 on them.
“I swear to God some of us here don’t even have N5 in our pockets. If they are going to behave like this, they should never invite us again,” one of them said.
Confirming the incident, AI said in a tweet, “Among those assembled for the protest, at our office today; are youths who were screened out, and told that they will not be paid, because they are not ‘properly dressed.”
The PUNCH reports that the protesters were led by Mohammed Shuaibu, the Convener, Concerned Citizens Coalition.
The protesters demonstrated against AI for being “anti-government”.
They asked the human rights organisation to leave Nigeria at once.
A protest letter which was submitted to AI read in part, “We boldly wish to state that Amnesty International and its operations in Nigeria have indeed been a source of concern for most Nigerians in the sense that they have constituted themselves as clogs in the wheels of progress in Nigeria through their often unsubstantiated reports and releases tuned to set Nigeria on the path of disintegration.
“That Amnesty International has continued to remain in Nigeria is a great disservice to us as a people and a country due to multiple pieces of evidence that indicate that it is indeed working for vested interest and as such, lost its credibility in all ramifications.”
The group called on the government to investigate AI, accusing the organisation of conniving with the Shiite-led Islamic Movement of Nigeria to destabilise the country.
The PUNCH reports that several pro-government groups have in the last five months held over 25 protests at AI’s office.
The protests have continued to hold despite a directive by the Nigeria Police Force that all demonstrations be confined to the Unity Fountain, Maitama.