16th December, 2015
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has condemned the recent attacks and killings of the Shi’ite sect by the Nigerian Army, describing it as a terror pre-meditated, malicious, pre-orchestrated and highly reprehensible attack.
Over 500 members of the Shiite sect were reported to have rushed out to barricade the road on Saturday 12, December, 2015 while the Chief of Army Staff’s (COAS) convoy was on its way from Dutse to pay homage to the Emir of Zazzau before proceeding to attend the Passing Out Parade of the 73 Regular Recruit Intake.
The Nigerian Army in a petition addressed to the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC), Prof. Ben Angwe, claimed its men shot dead seven members of the Shiite sect in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Saturday while 10 others were wounded in a bid by the soldiers to ward off an alleged attack by the sect’s members on the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
The Army claimed that the shooting by the troops accompanying the COAS convoy was in line with the Rules of Engagement to save the life of Buratai from heavily armed members of the Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky-led Shiite sect.
Condemning the attack, Comrade Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL said, “The army could not justify the attack, since the spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Colonel Rabe Abubakar claimed on radio yesterday that the chief of Army staff was held-up for more than 30 minutes in a traffic knowing hitherto that it is the way they do their protestations. If the army waited up to 30 minutes without being attacked, it means that the sect didn’t intend to attack them. The fact that the army unleashed the terror is reprehensible.
“Why has it become a regular occurrence that almost every time the Shiites do their annual rallies they are being attacked by the military? This means that there had been a pre-meditated intention behind such attack which must be seen as malicious and pre-orchestrated.”
Adeniran further said, “If the Army found anything incriminating on the Shiite protesters, it is not for the army to mete out punishment immediately. Since they know where their leaders were, rather than condemning them to death and carrying out instant but extrajudicial judgment based on their own assessment of the situation, they should have either arrested the protesters or got their leaders arrested, prosecuted and punished judiciously or even apply the use of milder force like the teargas to disperse them.”
He also condemned the disrupting of the flow of traffic caused by members of the sect, saying rather than blocking the entire road, they could have lined-up themselves by one side of the road.
The anti-corruption activist also gave his opinion as regards the new development in the ongoing probe into the alleged misappropriation of funds in the office the National Security Adviser (NSA).
The president was said to have received a compensation of $300,000 and armored SUVs from the NSA’s office under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration after Boko Haram terrorists attacked his convoy in Kaduna last year.
Reacting to the claims, Adeniran stressed that, “nothing is wrong if the President received cash from the NSA as a former head of state. He had the right and the privilege to collect the cars as compensation for the loss suffered from his vehicles that were hitherto destroyed. And since he had not been collecting such before the incidence, there was nothing wrong in what he had done, so nobody should tarnish the image of the President or try to rope him into the web of corruption.
“However, we must say that the government seems not to be serious about the welfare of the people. Granted that they are doing something about the security of the people, especially in the North-East, the other parts of the country have virtually been left to take care of themselves. There had been reported losses of several lives on the roads and to other acts of banditry. There also was the incident of the army unleashing mayhem on pro-Biafra protesters in Onitsha and it environs,” he stated.
Adeniran said despite all the roaring promises that the new regime made, all what “we have been hearing are threats; threats that we are going to begin to pay tolls on the roads, threats that we are going to pay more for power supply, threats that the power generation had even gone down, threats that the housing scheme may not be available until sometime in the future, threats that we are going to pay more as VAT, threats that we are going to pay N97 for Petrol, and so on. So, where lies our hope?”