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Amnesty International urges Adamawa, Zamfara to lift ban on NGOs



Amnesty International on Friday urged Zamfara and Adamawa States to lift the ban placed on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the states.

The Director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigbo, who made the call in a statement in Abuja, said the ban would impact negatively on vulnerable communities in the two states.

Zamfara State government had in February ordered all NGOs to vacate the state with immediate effect.

The state’s Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Mamman Safe, accused the NGOs of undermining security in the state.

The Adamawa state government also banned the activities of NGOs in the state, alleging the organisations tried to influence voters during last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.

However, Ojigbo said the development was a disservice to most citizens in the states.

She charged the governments to focus on rebuilding communities ravaged by terrorists in the states.

READ ALSO: Zamfara govt expels NGOs for allegedly ‘fueling’ insecurity

Ojigbo said: “Amnesty International calls for the immediate reversal of the arbitrary expulsion of non-governmental organizations by the governors of Adamawa and Zamfara States in northern Nigeria. Targeting organizations solely for carrying out their normal activities, when they are saving lives, will mostly hurt the vulnerable communities they are serving.

“This crackdown on independent organizations and human rights defenders must stop. The governors of Adamawa and Zamfara states must allow independent organizations and human rights defenders to freely carry out their work.

“The suspension of NGOs in the two states, both ravaged by insecurity and conflict, is repressive and a direct attack on the civic space. Authorities of the two states must desist from such arbitrary exercise of powers and focus more on rebuilding and resettling communities displaced by years of attacks by bandits and insurgents.”

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