The Amnesty International (AI) has announced the opening of its new national office in Nigeria, as part of a major drive to increase the impact of its human rights work in the country.
The establishment of Amnesty International Nigeria sets out a new way of working for the world’s leading human rights organization in the West African country.
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.
Speaking on the matter, the Amnesty International Secretary General, Salil Shetty, said, “Nigeria has achieved remarkable things — but serious violations continue, unpunished. 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,”
“The new government has made promises of accountability, and we welcome that. Now, we must hold them to their words.”
According to Shetty, the AI will campaign and lobby on a wide range of issues in Nigeria. These include the ongoing attacks and atrocities by Boko Haram, violations committed by the military and other security forces, use of torture, forced evictions and the right to adequate housing and the devastating impact of decades of oil pollution on communities in the Niger Delta.
Shetty added that Amnesty International Nigeria will also strengthen partnerships with national human rights organizations and support campaigning by civil society organizations across the country.
Former Ambassador M.K. Ibrahim brings a wealth of experience to the role of Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, having served in Nigeria’s Foreign Service in various capacities and specializing in human rights. Amnesty International Nigeria, under the direction of MK Ibrahim, will continue to work for the protection and promotion of human rights and social justice in the country, and hold the Federal and state governments to account through its campaigning, research projects and lobbying.
“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.”