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Responding to the Nigerian army’s suspension of UNICEF from operations in northeast Nigeria over allegations of spying and collaborating with Boko Haram, Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said:

“Amnesty International strongly condemns attempts by the Nigerian army to demonize UNICEF’s lifesaving work in the northeast of the country, where the Boko Haram conflict has created one of the deadliest humanitarian disasters in the world. We see the suspension of UNICEF as part of a wider drive to intimidate international humanitarian and human rights organizations who are working to save lives in this devastating conflict.

“The Nigerian army has accused UNICEF of ‘aiding Boko Haram’ – an absurd charge. The suspension of UNICEF will in fact deprive those whose lives have been devastated by the Boko Haram conflict from receiving much-needed humanitarian assistance.

“We call on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the suspension of UNICEF immediately. The Nigerian military should focus on protecting lives rather than smearing NGOs.”