Shehu Sani said the Senate betrayed the victims of the killings.
The Nigerian Senate acted wrongly in its resolution that failed to declare the execution of eight squatters by security officials in a high brow area of Abuja as extra-judicial, the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria has said.
The president of the congress, Shehu Sani, said the resolution, which was reached by the Senate on Tuesday after months of investigation by its committee, is an endorsement of cold blooded murder.
“The killings remain a horrific and despicable act of cruelty by the state apparatus,” Mr. Sani said. “The Senate
by their resolution have defecated on the graves of those innocent souls. It’s most unfortunate that the senate failed to take into account the testimony of the survivors of the raid and the mass killings.”
The killing occurred on September 20, after soldiers invaded an uncompleted building in the Apo area of Abuja and began shooting its occupants, many of them artisans.
The military explained that the operation was carried out based on intelligence acquired from communication intercepts that indicated some members of the Boko Haram sect were to launch an attack on the city from the building 48 hours
The operation killed eight squatters who were described as homeless artisans and tricycle operators. Many others were wounded.
The killings were jointly carried out by the Army and the Department of State Security Service, SSS; both agencies claimed the victims were armed. Contrary to the norm with Nigerian security agencies, the alleged arms of the victims
were never recovered or displayed.
PREMIUM TIMES had on Sunday, three days after the incident, exclusively reported alleged plans by security officials to plants weapons near the building and later claim they were owned by the victims. The plan was shelved after PREMIUM TIMES’ report, our defence sources said.
Hasty operation or extrajudicial killing?
The senate committee that investigated the killings in its findings said that the death of the eight people and wounding of eleven others was not a case of extrajudicial killing but the outcome of hastily executed operation by the
The committee backed its stands with a claim that four suspects arrested from the scene, in the custody of the SSS, confessed to membership of the outlawed Boko Haram sect.
The committee said that the security agencies had substantial and convincing intelligence to believe that some Boko Haram elements were embedded among residents of the said uncompleted building. It also claimed that the operation at Apo was necessitated by electronic intercepts by the SSS which indicated plans to attack FCT on September 22.
The Civil Rights Congress described the action of the security agents as “barbaric” and condemned the senate resolution which failed to clearly label the killing extrajudicial.
“The killings in Apo was, is and remains nothing but extra judicial murder,” Mr. Sani said. “The senate have done nothing but blame the victims and aided and abetted the committal of gross human rights violations.
“Their killing in cold blood and the endorsement of such banality and savagery by the senate is nothing but infamy.”
Extrajudicial killings are the bane of the Nigerian security apparatus, spanning the entire security agencies. The
extrajudicial murder of the founding Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, by the police in 2009 is largely blamed for the current Boko Haram crisis in northern Nigeria.
Mr. Sani said he was prepared to offer legal assistance to the families of the victims in their quest for justice now
strangulated by the senate. Nonetheless, he said, the spirit of those killed and the reality of their innocence will continue to haunt all those involved.
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