By Isah K.
Brothers and Sisters of the Islamic Movement have appeared before a Panel of Inquiry into Zaria Massacre set by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja . The special Panel held its sittings at National Human Rights Commission in Abuja on 2nd and 3rd of February 2016.
During the two day sittings some brothers and sisters of the Movement gave eye wittiness account of the attack on them at Husainiyyah Baqiyyatulah and at the residence of Sheikh in Zaria during the period. The 6-man panel, headed by Barrister Tony Ojukwu, asked the witnesses many questions on the event for verification of claims they submitted to the Commission.
Earlier on, hundreds of petitions were written to the commission by the members of the Movement, to which due to time constraint, only a few were called to give their account after taking affirmation to say the truth and nothing but the truth.
At the end of the sittings, Mallam Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola, submitted a consolidated hard and soft copy of report on behave of the Islamic Movement which contains details of the event as well as demands of the Movement.
As he summarized before submission Mallam Yola reiterated the demands of the Movement as follows;
– 1. Unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky and his followers.
– 2. Corpses of slain brothers and sisters to be handed over to the Movement for proper funeral and burial.
– 3. Other detainees together with the injured to be handed over to the Movement.
– 4. An independent and all inclusive committee to be set up which will comprise of individuals and groups from within and outside Nigeria to investigate the matter.
– 5. Compensation to be paid for lives lost including the injured and properties destroyed
– 6. To bring the perpetrators to face Justice for the crime committed.
Mallam Abdurrahman furthers said there are over 705 missing brothers and sisters to which the army should explain as well as the issue of mass graves of some brothers and sisters in different locations.
Mallam Yola furthers suggested that the Military should make their Rule of Engagement public so that people shall grasp what it is all about for the fact that they Army claimed to use Rule of Engagement during their attack on the defenseless people in Zaria on 12- 14 Dec 2015.
On continued hostilities towards brothers and sisters of the Islamic Movement in some places, Mallam Abdurraham said, the commission should look into threats face by members of the Islamic Movement in places like Jos and Jimeta. He said in Jos brothers are facing threats of possible attacks from the Joint Task Force headed by an army officer.
While in Jimeta, he complained of a similar threats face by brothers and Sisters in Nasarawo Juma’at Mosque.
In his speech, the head of the Panel barrister Tony, thanked brothers to attending the specials sittings. He called on the Nigerians to live in peace with another irrespective of religion, region or ethnic groups. He said there is need for encouragement which will bring Nigerians together. Barr Tony said’ we are all Nigerians and we should not look for the differences’
The Head of the Panel had earlier said there was already an allegation submitted by the Nigerian Army to the Commission, he however, said the Islamic Movement too has allegation and counter allegation and for that they will be called shortly for another hearings.
Many people hope that this enquiry by the NHRC shall not be similar to that of 2014 when the army killed 33 people including 3 sons of Sheikh Zakzaky in Zaria on July 25, 2014 to which the case was referred to the Commission and nothing was done. Though, the Executive Secretary of the Commission Prof Ben A., when asked regarding the 2014 case, said the commission did not get responses when letters were sent to the parties involved for some clarification of some matters ensuring that the case is still opened.
However, on its part, the Movement said it has responded to all inquiries of the Commission and the report they presented to it contains necessary information needed, unless the commission wants play delay tactics in order to sweep the matter under its carpet adding that everything regarding 2014 massacre in Zaria is well documented and given to the commission.
Whatever the case, the world watches on to see whether the commission will do its work accordingly on the current issue or history shall repeat itself.
The National Human Right Commission is a government’s agency and its Executives are appointed by the Government, with this the Movement foresees possibility of being partial on the issue since the army, who is accused of massacre, is also controlled by the government.