Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has said the Nigerian Army will pay dearly for soldiers’ alleged killing of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
Falana said that the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, and soldiers who “protected” him during the Zaria fatal shootings that left scores dead should not have taken the law into their hand.
According to the activist, it is also regrettable that the Nigerian Army reportedly said it had no regrets for killing members of the IMN, “demolishing their houses and holding Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife incommunicado.”
Falana said, “I have condemned the government over the unwarranted military attack on the members of the Shiites movement in Zaria. “Assuming without conceding that some criminal elements constituted public nuisance by blocking a major highway which affected the movement of the Chief of Army Staff who was going to pay a courtesy call on a traditional ruler, the police ought to have been called in to remove the nuisance. A chief of army staff is an ordinary citizen who is subject to the rule of law. The law does not permit him to resort to self-help by asking armed troops to start killing unarmed civilians.
“When the residence of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was set on fire by the ‘Unknown Soldier’ under the (Olusegun) Obasanjo-led military dictatorship in 1978, the Supreme Court lambasted the government. Even though the action was dismissed the apex court held that by virtue of section 6 of the Constitution the government could henceforth be sued and be made liable for unleashing barbaric assaults on citizens.” Falana said he was convinced that the Nigerian army would pay dearly for the reckless killing of unarmed civilians in Zaria.