Zaria Massacre: Army had “predetermined mandate” to attack Shi’ites – Group

Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

A non-governmental organisation, Access to Justice, has alleged that the Nigerian Army had a “pre-determined mandate” to attack members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, in Zaria on Saturday.

The deadly clash left scores of the sect’s members dead. The Army claimed the sect made attempt on the life of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

But Access to Justice, during a press conference, addressed by its Director, Joseph Otteh, on Friday in Abuja, said the Army’s claim that the protesters were armed was untrue.

“The response of the Army towards the Shiite protesters was a crime against humanity,” said Mr. Otteh

He, therefore, warned that his organisation would not “hesitate to head for the International Criminal Court, ICC” and insisted that “the Army had a predetermined mandate to do what they did.”

Even as he said the organisation was not in support of blockade of a highway or violent protest by the Shiite Muslim group, Mr Otteh said “the Army lacked constitutional mandate to disperse protests or procession of any kind”‎.

In his view, what the Army ought to have done was to reach out to the police high command in Kaduna State to deploy personnel towards handling the protest.

He said, “The convoy of the Chief of Army Staff could have, in order not to escalate an already violate situation that was unraveling along Zaria Road, chosen another route into Kaduna.

“This would have been a course of action you would expect from a very senior official of government who wants to avoid possible, in fact, likely repercussions of engaging in violent confrontation with the protesters.

“It was reasonably foreseeable that violence can further inflame religious passions which were already very high among members of the Islamic movement, who had already lost many members to military attacks last year and previous years.

“Such confrontation could also trigger a violent blackash and radicalise members of the group in the same way that Boko Haram was transformed after security and law enforcement officials attacked their members and extra judicially executed many of them.

“This history should have figured in how the military chooses to respond to protesters.

“The people of Nigeria have a right to assemble freely, even on public streets. Where protests offend against traffic laws, the protesters should be managed or restrained and if necessary, prosecuted.”

The organisation asked President Muhammadu Buhari to institute a high-powered independent commission of inquiry to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the massacre condemned by United States, United Kingdom, Iran and both chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly.

“Access to Justice demands that a thorough, independent and impartial inquiry be carried out by the Federal Government over this incident.

“It should be noted that this is not the first time the Nigerian Army has attacked members of the sect.

“In July 2014, scores of members of this group, including two sons of Sheik El-Zakzaky were killed by officers of the Nigerian Army as they were holding a peaceful procession along a road.

“Up till this time, the Nigerian government has yet to investigate the incident neither has anyone been brought to account over the attacks,” Mr. Otteh said.

He noted that the failure of government to investigate the 2014 killings may have contributed indirectly to the Saturday incident.

“Where governments do not show serious concern for the safety and integrity of human life and allow security or law enforcement agents to act with impunity, it strengthens the hands and minds of abusers,” he added.


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  • e_orpheus

    All these publicity stunts. Every group wants its voice heard.
    The army had a “Pre determined mandate”, they should have “chosen another route into kaduna”..why? because some ragtag group have obstructed the highway! The same nonsense mentality that allowed boko haram grow wings.

    • musa aliyu




    1. Why did Prof Ango Abdullahi then VC of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria expel Turi Mohammad, Zainab and others from ABU (Kongo Campus) in the course of 1980/81 academic year.

    2. What was the role of Iran immediately Turi and others were expelled?

    3. Have they watched the Youtube video to see very Senior Military Officers pleading with the stuupid Shittes to allow the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff passage through public roads that they had blocked.

    • musa aliyu

      To add more questions :
      1. Did they ask the military how many casualties they have in the duel with the Shiites?
      2. Why did the Shiites block a federal road, unexcused?
      3. What did their leader told Buratai when he called him, pleading that he talked to the urchins to allow him passage?
      4. Why did zakzaky refused to honor the invitation given to him by the military?
      5. Why did he resist arrest by the authorities?
      6. What did his followers did to cover him up @the time of arrest?
      7. Why is it that it is only Christian groups that are claiming wrong is done and no Islamic one ever did?
      8. Does the above not show a similitude to bh when Moh Yusuf was supported initially by fellow Christians clergies and groups?

      • Don Siema Yabo

        Musa Aliyu lemme ans ur questions, but i think u literally don’t know exactly what happened, 1. there was no any casualties among the army, 2. the blocked was not unexcused…go and watch the vid again u will see clearly it wasn’t from the beginning, at first they came without no reason and shoot innocent people then they left for reinforcement if you watch the vid and listen to the conversation they were asking them with what reasons would you do so and still soldiers took position all over the shrine place, 3. and there was no any phone call from burutai or sani usman non of them call the leader in fact someone asked him to go n tell burutai to give him the leader number, i want you to listen very carefully in the conversation on the vid. 4. whosoever said that there was an invitation was lying because even in the interview with the press both the 2 officers Sani usaman and Burutai none of them mentioned that they send an invitation, what they told press was that they heard people are mobilizing to his house and the morgue that is why they went there and did what they did, that’s what Sani Usman told media. 5. if you don’t forget he was arrested saveral times from different head of state, no any office that came to arrest him what they did is that the came at night around 10pm n start shooting merciessly they didn’t come for an arrest they came to kill everyone. 6. because they came to kill not for arrest that was why they stand in protecting him as the soldiers claim they did to rescue the COAS. 7.No one is above the law both the military and the civilians we are all citizens of one nation, so in this case it is clearly injustice not that the islamic group are not claiming wrong done. 8. I will tell u this, BH was created by govt and whatsoever BH did come from govt they cant do such to these people why because this is not for the first time armed forces were attacking us so they can’t make it like BH.

        I have some questions for you
        1. why is it that when he was ambushed by BH in Borno he didn’t enter Borno n kill any BH member?
        2. Why would they raid his house and the shrine of worshipping + the graves of his martyred children? are are also among those that block the road?
        3. why would they lie to media that he was rescue not arrested? they rescue him from who?
        4. why is it that they don’t have standard and equal talk? the spokesman Sani Usman when interviewed with BBC hausa he mentioned that they were attacked by shi’ite with heavy weapons including guns and many among the soldiers were injured, and yet i didn’t see any pic of soldier injured.
        5. why is it that when he was interviewed he didn’t mentioned that first attack the movement bfr their appearance? he only mentioned that they were attacked.
        When buratai was asked what happened he just said NTA has recorded it and the vid tells everything while there was no any NTA staff it was recorded by them and he didn’t explain what really happened, how can that shot clip of just 6 minutes would tell everything? The sultan as a president of NSCIA requested to see the leader and his condition they denied by saying they handle him to appropriate authorities, they know about appropriate authorities and they execute law? why would they be lying always, and for good 4 days they have been killing people and yet Mr president didn’t say anything as a leader do u think that’s how he supposed to do? is like he is promoting violent forward. just think of it.

  • musa aliyu

    This group is a jocular one. The COAS has a national assignment ahead of him and some urchins decided to illegally block the highway, as they are lawlessly used to, and he had to call the police 80 kilometers away to clear the road for him. I think this jester lives in Mars. Go jump in to the ocean. Or let him gather his town’s people to block road for the COAS and we shall see what will happen.

  • Murtala.

    We may not have heard the last word on this senseless massacre. The army that run away from rag tag insurgents into Cameroon and Chad now found a way to make a point against armless women and Children and the commander in chief was being honoured with a birthday cocktail by the same army. What a leader.

    • metson

      What do you expect, the army ran because they were arm less too before the boko haram, the shiites should have done the same, we talk anything that comes out of our mouth, a country that does not respect her institution as the army, how will you expect yourself to be secured, mine you when the army or the police are attacked it make no sense to the Nigeria populace because the are sacred cows, imagine people will be saying that it was what happen that lead to boko haram emergence and no one is talking about the senior police officer who was killed and others before the killing of Yusuf. Well let us keep condemning what is bad and support that which is good, after all they are the people sacrificing their lives daily for us just like what is happening now in Borno and Yobe

  • Dan maikoko

    The video shows the army begging zakzaky people for right to pass on a public thoroughfare.

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