As Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s addresses the European Union, Nigerians have launched a Petition urging the Union’s action in reference to the recent Zaria massacre that saw no less than 1000 Nigerians killed in an excessive and extrajudicial action by the Nigerian armed forces. The Petition opened by Frederick Dijon reads:
The EU Should Take a Proactive Stand on the Zaria Massacre
Barely two months after the Zaria massacre, the President of Nigeria is scheduled to address the European Parliament next week on Wednesday 03/02/2016 in Strasbourg, in a special session of the European Parliament.
It should be recalled that after the Zaria massacre between 12/12/2015 to 14/12/2015, President Buhari was mute for about three weeks. No condemnation and no condolence message to the families of hundreds of Shi’ite Nigerians killed by the Nigerian Army and missing to this day. Buhari is the C-in-C of his country’s armed forced. The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky remains incarcerated along with his wife after being shot multiple times since the incident without bail. Human Rights Watch calls the Nigerian Army onslaught on the Shi’ites “unjustified” and estimate at least 300 killed. The Shi’ites were killed on a highway for road block, and then more accusations were thrown at them. After the road block incident, the Army attacked the religious center of the Shi’ite minority in Zaria called Hussainiyyah, where thousands were gathered for a religious ceremony. The house of the organization’s spiritual leader was also attacked. The religious center of the Islamic Movement and houses belonging to members of the organization have been demolished, along with a cemetery. Worse, till now, Buhari has shown no remorse or sympathy with the families of the hundreds killed. During his presidential media chat, he implicitly justified the extra judicial killings by describing the blocking of a road by some members of the IMN as “state within a state” while calling for an investigation.
We urge the members of the European Parliament to not focus solely on financial corruption in Nigeria. We urge the EU Parliament to ask Mr. Buhari to account for the lives of innocent Nigerians massacred in Zaria. Over a thousand is estimated to have been killed. We urge the EU to altogether cancel the scheduled address by Mr. Buhari in solidarity with human rights and the rule of law. Economic/financial corruption war cannot be won amidst human rights abuses, extra judicial killings, crimes against humanity, indefinite detentions, disobedience of court orders and an atmosphere of intimidation by the government meant to protect its own citizens.
The silence of the EU and honoring Buhari to address its parliament can be understood as implicit approval of a massacre of innocent people in Zaria or a nonchalant attitude to human rights. If people don’t get killed for peaceful protests in Europe and don’t get shot at for blocking roads to protest or conduct religious/political processions, then the massacre in Zaria is not justified. A massacre where many families lost many members to trigger happy soldiers. Tyrants do not belong to the EU parliament but at the ICC in The Hague. The EU must act for the sake of its credibility and human rights.