Today the Kaduna state government of Nasiru Elrufa’i inaugurated the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the army’s onslaught on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria last month. Before now we have written a petition against the commission and its composition, which unfortunately is not addressed by the state government.
The Islamic Movement believes the Commission looks more like an “Commission of Indictment” rather than a “Commission of Inquiry” because of the following indisputable facts:
1. Some identified members of the Commission have vested interests against the Movement in particular and the Shi’a in general. Thus, by Law, they are automatically disqualified from participating or serving in the Commission.
2. Kaduna State Government has demonstrated bias and made pre-matured conclusions against the Movement even before setting up the Commission.
3. The Nigerian Army, ably represented in the Commission too, has vested interests with the level of serious and grievous allegations of massacre, illegal detention, rape, arson and willful destruction of properties against it.
4. The Movement is not represented in the membership of the Commission.
5. The composition of the Commission has no local or international human and humanitarian rights groups.
In view of the above, the fairness, independence and impartiality of the Commission as required by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are in doubt. The rules of natural justice require, inter alia, that where likelihood of bias can reasonably be inferred or discovered whether directly or indirectly from the surrounding circumstances, then fair hearing is not observed. This is because justice should not only be done but it must be manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to have been done.
Based on the above, we still insist that:
A) The Commission as constituted lacks both legal and moral standing to inquire into the “clashes” that happened between the Nigerian Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria on 12th -14th December, 2014 at Zaria for lack of fairness, independence and impartiality.
B) An independent judicial commission of inquiry with the supervisions and observation of international community be set up instead, to inquire into the Zaria incident of December 12-14th 2015.
C) The leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub Zakzaky should be released from custody, even as at the time of writing this statement neither his family nor lawyers have met him wherever he is being detained.
President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
0805 078 6093