Zaria Clash: Human Rights Commission Indicts Army, Shiite

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The National Human Rights Commission’s report on the Army/Shiite clash in Zaria, Kaduna State, has called for the speedy trial of the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) who blocked the convoy of Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai.

Several members of the IMN, also known as Shiite group, were killed during the clash.

Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel, Mr Okechukwu Ojukwu, while submitting the report, also said that any officer of the Nigerian Army found culpable of disproportionate use of force in violation of the rules of engagement should be prosecuted.

The panel identified the blockade of road by members of the IMN as the remote cause of the clash between the two organisations.

The convoy of the COAS was on December 12, 2015, blocked by persons alleged to be members of the IMN. The army chief was on his way to attend the passing-out parade of the 73 Regular Recruits Intake of Depot, NA, Zaria.

The report further called for sensitisation of religious groups on the need to respect the right to freedom of movement of others, especially on public highways.

The report reads in part, “Any officers of Nigerian Army found culpable for disproportionate and unreasonable use of force in violation of the Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct of NA and the 1999 CFRN during the incident of December12-14, 2015, should be prosecuted.

“The leader of IMN should be tried speedily for any offences (if any) established against him and his organization in line with the 1999 CRRN as amended.

“Compensation computed in a fair manner by experts should be paid by the Kaduna State government to the victims of the demolished property.”

The NHRC boss, Prof Bem Angwe, in his response to the panel’s report, stated that the commission will study it and come up with its final report.

He added that the final reports will in turn be sent to the appropriate quarters for action.

In a similar development, the commission yesterday requested the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, to appear before it on September 26 over complaint of allegations of human rights violation.

According to the commission, one Prince Lege Adedipe had filed a complaint against Ibas and the managing director of Naval Building and Construction Company, Lt. Commodore Abdul Adamu, and some officers of the Nigerian Navy.

The incident was alleged to have taken place at Navy town, Asokoro, Abuja.

The commission noted that the officers of the Navy prevented its men from carrying out an on-the-spot-visit to the site of the incident in a bid to verify the petition.

NHRC noted that it is an offence under Section 6(4) of the NHRC Act, 1995, as amended, to obstruct the commission in the performance of its lawful duties.

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