As the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the abled leadership of His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky submits its memoranda to the National Human Rights Commission concerning the December 12-14, 2015 pogrom on the Movement by the Nigerian Army, we want to put on records the following:
Our submission is as required by the National Human Rights Commission after the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) filed a complaint of assassination attempt on his life. Submissions were done both individually and collectively, with signatories being mainly victims of the merciless clampdown on the Movement as well as eye witnesses and relatives of the victims. Memoranda contain detailed accounts of activities that transpired in those days.
We also wish to voice out our concern and fear of getting any justice from the NHRC due to the degree of haste it appears to be unusually applying in this case without necessarily being thorough. The setting up of the investigation panel was within a record few days of the submission of the petition by the Army Chief. The panel only gave barely three weeks for parties to submit their memo. However, with this apparent speed, it seems like an attempt at covering some facts. Firstly, the scope and scale of the assault on our members was grave. So many were killed and many others are being held incommunicado in many military, police and other detention centers. These are key witnesses. Access to them is crucial for justice in this matter. Secondly, the government through various of its agents destroyed our property without recourse to law. By so doing, a substantial part of our evidence has been completely destroyed. Laying our hands on backups where it exists is hindered by the ongoing psychological, social and physical trauma the pogrom put us through. In effect, our members have suffered immense loses, to the extent that 3 weeks is too short for them to get themselves to normalcy enough to make any comprehensive presentation to the commission.
To put it in context, we submitted a petition to this Human Rights Commission following the brutal massacre of 34 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, including the 3 sons of Shaikh Zakzaky in July 2014, but till this minute, the commission has not acted in the manner it is speedily doing currently with the case of Army Chief’s petition. One wonders whether the law is different depending on position one occupies in government.
While we agree that justice delayed is justice denied, this doesn’t preclude giving all parties adequate time for fair hearing. Justice must not only be done, it must be acceptably seen to be done.
Finally, we call on all men and women of conscience to stand up for the truth. We renew our call for the unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and all his followers unjustifiably being detained. Corpses of those killed should be handed over for proper and befitting Islamic burial. We also reiterate that an independent judicial commission under the watchful eyes of the international community be set up to unearth the truth in this matter and the perpetrators of the Zaria 12th -14th pogrom be brought to book. Only then can justice be seen and said to have been done.
Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola
13th January 2016 (3 Rabi’ul Thani 1437 H)