Killers of 34 Shia protesters in Zaria must be punished – Odinkalu

Chidi Odinkalu, Chair, National Human Rights Commission
Chidi Odinkalu, Chair, National Human Rights Commission

Military personnel involved in the killing of 34 peaceful protesters during the pro-Palestinian rally in Zaria on July 25, 2015 must be brought to book, the chairman of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Chidi Odinkalu, has said.

“If that number of people (34) can just be killed and nothing happens, then that is oppression,” the rights chief said during a conference to commemorate the killing of the Quds day protesters in Abuja on Sunday.

Speaking on the topic “From Al-Quds to Zaria: A melting pot of rights violation, veil of bias and conspiracy of silence,” Mr. Odinkalu said the NHRC “owes the country a duty to investigate and find out what truly happened that day and those implicated punished.”

He decried the conspiracy of silence of the killings, saying “if 34 young men would be killed in cold blood and then their families would be told to keep quiet, then that is the worst oppression.”

He said the greatest injustice is to “allow a parent to bury his three young children murdered in cold blood in the same day while the society keeps quiet.”

He said the rights commission would soon conduct a public hearing to get to the root of the Zaria killings and ensure that all those implicated are appropriately prosecuted.

The NHRC chief said the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibraheem Zakzaky, whose three undergraduate sons were among those killed, is not only a religious leader but a human rights leader.

“The Shia community in Nigeria has been oppressed unjustifiably for so long in this country,” Mr. Odinkalu said.

He also said Mr. Zakzaky was among the few Nigerians that stood against the Sani Abacha military brutal regime that clamped down on human rights campaigners.

Other speakers at the event were the Chief Imam of Washington DC, Muhammad Al-Asi; Massoud Shadjareh of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, London; Dahiru Yahaya of Bayero University, Kano; Yohanna Buru, an inter-faith campaigner; and Ebenezer Oyetakin of the Anti-corruption network for justice.

There was also a documentary and exhibition on the images, sights and sounds of the Zaria Quds day massacre at the event.

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  • McAlfred Uta

    PT is it 25th July, 2015 or there is an error on the date the incident occurred. I hope you wont hurriedly correct the date without apologizing and make it look as if I have eye problem given that I am the first to comment on your report.
    … “Military personnel involved in the killing of 34 peaceful protesters during the pro-Palestinian rally in Zaria on July 25, 2015 must be brought to book, the chairman of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Chidi Odinkalu, has said”.

  • Jejen

    Is this Odinkalu a Shi’aite as well? If yes, birds of the same feather flock together, if not, what is his palaver between the army and Shi’a issue?

    • nasiru

      if u like you can call him shiite we the lover of peace

    • tundemash

      Mor0n …. when one day, the same murderous army comes for your sister, mother, wife and brother, don’t shout injustice!

  • Excisionist

    ” peaceful protesters during the pro-Palestinian rally in Zaria on July 25, 2015 ”

    This “peaceful” protest has something in common with so many other “peaceful” demonstrations and protests in the past that led to the destruction of non-Muslim property and killing of non-Muslims in Northern Nigeria. One example of that is the Danish Mohammed cartoon protest where many Christians were killed and their churches, businesses and homes razed. This, despite the fact that most of the victims did not know whether Denmark was a country or a village, let alone about the cartoon.

    At such times, the perpetrators, the “peaceful” protesters never went to the so called Human Rights organization to use them as platforms to ask for prosecution or compensation for victims. The Human rights organisations never also on themselves spoke for the victims or their families. What is happening now is part of a well oiled International Islamic Propaganda machine which promotes the perpetration of evil against non-Muslims while crying laud whenever there is the slightest reaction from the victims.

    As long as Muslims maintain the “LIVE AND LET DIE” ideology as taught by their “prophet”, they will never have peace in the world.

  • True Nigerian

    The worst was that these three young sons of EL-Zakzaki were taken into custody alive. They had no weapons, no violence, no resistance to arrest. And then they were shot dead whilst already in custody. How does the army explain such murder without any meaningful credible facts?

    But the Nigerian army wants every Nigerian to believe that our army is just being persecuted by the Amnesty International for

    accusing our army of horrendous human rights violations. I refuse to be deceived. The army and its commander-in-chief must purge the army of whatever makes it to believe that it cannot fight the enemies of the country without committing mindless crimes against those whom the army is sent to protect. I don’t know any Nigerian who does not regard both the Nigerian army and the Nigerian police as breakers of the law and persecutors of innocent Nigerian citizens whilst also failing woefully to be effective against horrific criminals who operate with impunity.

    Yes, we support our army against boko haram; but we know it is a rotten institution which needs to re-orientation whilst also punishment should be meted out to the criminal elements who murder innocent people in the name of providing us with security.

    • burning spear

      Nigeria is at war with itself—in the Fulani North–and some animals arrange a protest? Look-the soldiers were right—We cannot have another religious body attempt to protest against an incident that has nothing to do with Nigeria—-while our troops are at war with boko haram——which protest has religious organisation carried out in the Fulani North that never ended in the murder of innocent Nigerians–name one of them——-from the era of Buhari to IBB and OBJ——GIVE ME JUST ONE EXAMPLE—————Only God knows why we are still together—–i belive it has to do with the oil in the south south—-we have no regard for the sanctity of human life—–in Nigeria at all–are we the only Nation with a Muslim population–in Aafrica? I begi let my people go—This man is talking rubbish why has he not called for the prosecution of those who killed hundred of Ibos and dumped in one of their rivers in the east? ANIMALS

      • SBA

        Your are a divisive commentator

    • bikky

      Thank you.

  • burning spear

    its really very sad the way certain Nigerians attempt to split the country along ethnic and religious lines. All in the name of trying to retain their jobs——who in Nigeria has ever called for the prosecution of the rivers indigenes–the Boma brothers who were gunned down in broad–day light in Bonny by members of the Nigerian army? What about in Gbaranmatu in the Niger Dlta where old men and women were thrown into the river Nun—? Has any of the soldiers who commandered the troops that bombed-the said village been tried—at the ICC?—–what about Ayakoroma—–under the directive of General Ihejirika? We come out to condemn our troops for doing their jobs–WITH REGARDS TO THEIR WAR WITH BOKO HARAM-But when the western world apply the Leahy law against us as they did with Buhari we cry foul——it was the sultan of sokoto who admitted wrtiting lettters to western leaders-about the crime committed against boko haram—-by our troops–Buhari himself did the same thing–He siad Jonathan was killing Muslims—and not boko haram fighters—Now that the words they used against Jonathan has come to haunt their rotten souls–we have an Ibo man attempt to play to the galary–because he wants to retain his job—–with the Fulanis and Yorubas—what a shame

    • All Trust

      What about punishing Nigeria for killing Igbos in the civil war?

    • Otile

      How about asking your Ijaw relatives to return Igbo properties they are still holding in Ibuocha, Biafraland? This is one area you and your Yoruba masters are in total agreement. None of you want to see the survival of Biafra. While the Yorubas graciously gave back to Igbo the properties they were holding the thieving_Ijaws are still keeping their loots. No justice no peace. God bless Biafra.

  • anthony24g

    Premium Times needs to report sensitive and corrosive news correctly otherwise their journalism will be called to question and be ridiculed. I have searched other Nigerian online news media for the report of the said murder of Shia protesters in Zaria two days ago on 25 July 2015 by Nigerian army and could not find any. Please could Premium Times explain how they are the only online news media to report this recent show of shame by Nigerian army? If this did happen two days ago it will be justifiable to call into question the leadership of Buhari as to the sanctity of life for every Nigerian.

    • Abdulazeez

      Nobody needs be called into question for the crazy behavior of Northern Nigerian Muslims. In the light of what Excisionist and others have pointed out, they should henceforth be made to pay heavily for the destruction of life and property they perennially cause in this kind of wild protest. Doesn’t Nigeria have enough problems? Why should they always kill and destroy for what is happening in distant regions of the world?

    • tundemash

      This happened 25 July 2014. The typo was in the year.

  • Marcus garvey

    No soldier should be prosecuted over this rubbish————-let those who organised the event which has nothing to do with Nigeria–go and mourn their children–bury them–after all they are not even Nigerians——-When the USA re-act to the rubbish that we often vomit from our mouth we call them names—-Most especially the Emir of Kano the socalled Sultan who is now the defacto President of Nigeria and Buhari his VP-u GO BORROW 2.1B DOLLARS FROM THEM–THEN ARRANGE TO HAVE YOUR SOLDIERS PROSECUTED BY THEM—HAS THE usa EVER SENT HER SOLDIERS TO BE TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD–ANIMALS

    • tundemash

      Dumbo …. how many American protesting citizens has American forces killed without trial ?

      In your ethnic hate, you keep posting stup1d statements online.

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