Being the response to the Managing Editor, International Centre for Investigative Journalism by Barrister Frank Tietie on 24th March, 2022.
My attention has been drawn to a report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) today, the 22nd of March, 2022 wherein my name was featured as one who had worked closely with Amnesty International Nigeria and its Director, Osai Ojigho but was at a time offended.
While confirming that the references attributed to me by ICIR are correct it must be emphasized that those were instances that happened about 5 years ago and the situations between myself, Osai Ojigho and Amnesty International have greatly improved with a lot of highly positive understanding.
Generally, Osai Ojigho is a good woman and Amnesty International Nigeria (AIN) under her leadership has contributed so much to the promotion, observation and enforcement of human rights in Nigeria.
One notable thing is that some recent reports by Amnesty International Nigeria under the watchful leadership of Osai Ojigho, on issues related to Farmer/Herders crisis in Nigeria and the ongoing insurgency in North-East Nigeria remain major reference / research materials for sterling accuracy in international humanitarian law and international human rights law in both academic and social advocacy circles.
Both my person and my organisation, Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) have benefitted immensely from her open door policy and willingness to partner with other human rights NGOs in the promotion of human rights in Nigeria. CASER still considers one of such outreach to the shanty parts of Mpape, Abuja as a classic example of how a big organisation can leave the media show behind and engage with the ordinary people on human rights. And not forgetting instances of direct intervention by Amnesty International Nigeria in cases of victims of human rights abuses with particular reference to that of Kamal Adamu which I brought to public through the Omnibus Human Rights Show on radio.
Much of the success attributed to the Human Rights Fiesta, an annual human rights promotional event hosted by CASER and now taken over by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), can by attributed to Osai Ojigho who threw the weight of Amnesty International Nigeria behind the first edition which has endured progressively in the last 5 years.
Osai Ojigho did not allow Amnesty International Nigeria to spare any intervention in cases of attacks against Nigerian journalists, activists and the Nigerian press. From Tony Ejimakor, Deji Adeyanju, Samuel Ogundipe and Evelyn Okakwu both of Premium Times to name a few, she notably had a passion for the protection of the free press in Nigeria.
My experience in the last 5 years in managing a small human rights NGO and an emerging private law practice in Abuja has taught me that managing responsibilities, especially of a near public nature like being the Director of Amnesty International comes with enormous stress and the potential to offend many people.
Hence, it is no surprise and a shame for that matter that the many times too numerous to mention that Osai Ojigho used her position as Director of Amnesty International Nigeria to support and endorse my human rights work, I could still be offended by the few things she did not do, under the circumstances of which I was either supposed to understand or taken in good faith.
I have come to the realization that there is not a person who is not susceptible to making mistakes and errors of judgment. Therefore, I treat any of such omissions by Osai Ojigho with utmost understanding and have since withdrawn my earlier complaints about her.
The said email that is correctly attributed to me in the said report by ICIR was shared only with Makmid Kamara and no one else to date. I will neither question the journalists’ sources nor challenge their privilege here but that mail was intended to be private and confidential in the hope that an internal engagement with Osai Ojigho would have resolved the issues I had raised.
So in 2019, I quickly embraced the opportunity when Osai Ojigho extended a further hand of fellowship to me to continue to partner with AIN despite my earlier disappointments with her decisions in the cases of the sacked Globacom women and that of Sen. Dino Melaye whom I felt was abandoned to state persecution, both cases of which I recommended for the intervention of Amnesty International Nigeria. Thus, we reconciled and it has been a time of mutually enhancing opportunity for a partnership that is ready to engage anytime the need arises.
Osai Ojigho has since reviewed her earlier decision on the sacked Globacom women and caused Amnesty International Nigeria to invite the representatives of the sacked women to Abuja for engagement on the matter. I don’t know the details of the extent of AIN intervention at this time of writing but some of the women have expressed deep satisfaction that Amnesty International Nigeria finally intervened in their matter.
In conclusion, I wish to express an unreserved vote of confidence in the person of Osai Ojigho for having, against all odds, striven to use her position as the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria to pursue, maintain, promote known international human rights standards in Nigeria.
There will always be limitations and shortcomings for any person, especially a woman, working in the most uncertain and hostile conditions as we have in our dear country, Nigeria. In the final analysis, Osai Ojigho has done well. She is a pride of women folk in the Nigerian civil society movement and by all standards, a good woman.
Frank Tietie, Esq.
Human Lawyer & Executive Director,
Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER)