Zaria Massacre: Falana wants Army Chief, Buratai, others prosecuted

Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has called for the prosecution of the Chief of Army, Tukur Buratai, and soldiers involved in the attack on the Shi’ite movement and their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, in Kaduna State.

A clash between members of the Shi’ite sect and the convoy of Mr. Buratai, on December 12 and 13 in Zaria, left at least 300 people dead, the Human Rights Watch said.

The soldiers had accused Shi’ite members of blocking the road and attempting to assassinate Mr. Buratai.

“Assuming that the Shi’ite members actually blocked the road, why was the nuisance not reported to the police? Are the authorities of the Nigerian Army above the law of the land?” Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said in a statement Wednesday.

“The army authorities have refused to release the bodies of those who were massacred to their families for burial while the personal physicians of the injured ones and their family members have been denied access to them.”

Mr. Falana said about 300 members of the sect, without allowing them access to lawyers, had been taken to a Magistrate Court over the past two days on the basis of First Information Reports.

“The suspects were refused bail by the Magistrate who ordered that they be remanded in prison custody,” Mr. Falana said.

“The leader of the group, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife who were also shot by the blood thirsty goons were taken away and dumped in a military custody. Up till now, their whereabouts are unknown.

“Although Sheik El-Zakzaky is reported to have been transferred from a military custody to a police station, he has been denied access to his personal physicians and lawyers.”

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr. El-Zakzaky is currently in police custody receiving treatment and the police had refused to grant anyone access to him until his health improves.

Mr. Falana reminded the Army and Police Authorities that under a “repressive” military junta, the right of access to detainees was fought and won.

“Thus, in Chief Gani Fawehinmi v. General Sani Abacha (1996) 5 NWLR (PT 447) 198 at 202, the Court of Appeal ordered the Attorney-General of Federation, Inspector-General of Police and the operatives of the State Security Services to allow the wife and personal physicians of the appellant, a political detainee, to have access to him in prison custody ‘at all reasonable times.’

“In requesting the Inspector-General of Police to allow access to the detainees his attention ought to be drawn to Section 14(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which provides as follows:

“A person who has the custody of an arrested suspect shall give the suspect reasonable facilities for obtaining legal advice, access to communication for taking steps to furnish bail, and otherwise making arrangements for his defence or release.'”

Mr. Falana urged the police boss to allow the sect members access to their families, personal physicians, and legal practitioners “at all reasonable times.”

“Having undertaken to end impunity in the country, President Buhari should ensure that the Chief of Army Staff and all the soldiers who took part in the violent attack and arson in Zaria are brought to book without any further delay.”


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  • Terraseas

    Mr Falana, just go away! We are tired of this your “I too sabi” attitude on everything. This is naija and you know how incompetent the police is very well. Where were you/police when the Shiites terrorists were terrorising the people of Zaria and motorists along Kaduna – Kano – Jos axes? Do we have to report a crime before the police can act on it even when they are in the know of it?
    Please go and watch the video of what happened on that fateful day again. I probably would have love to see them being dealt with in a different way but, to be honest, I have no qualms with what they got.The Shiites were only caught up by nemesis as a result of pains that they have been inflicting on innocent people for the past 7 years.

    • Manuel Tobby

      I don’t expect you to have any qualms with the death of hundreds of people (sorry your enemies) for blocking a public road.

      This is perfectly okay in a banana republic and jungles!

      So the videos you have watched showed you how army invaded the private home of zakzaky and his organisation hq office? ??

      Your videos also shows the dead bodies of soldiers killed by zakzaky and his followers? ?
      the video also the burnt army vehicles and the injured soldiers?

      Since you love videos, then go and watch the video of protesters who occupied wall street and it’s environs for days and check if the better trained and better equipped USA ever killed anyone truOut d days it lasted.

      Please go watch the video of the farmers protest in Paris and see how they block federal roads for days with no single loss of live.

      Do you now understand the difference between the 1st world countries and the 3rd world countries?

      • ThankGod Nigeria

        We’ve had demonstrations in Nigeria too without anyone being killed. The crisis was unfortunate. The circumstances could have gone the other way too.Scenes like these happen every now and then worldwide. The Nation is in war and you block Army chief road and refused all appeals.Consequences may be costlier for the nation where the rod was spared(certainly over used) Emboldened sect/demoralized army etc. Context of the killings is the only reason why some is looking at the bad incident with mixed feelings.May God grant those who died eternal peace and forgive the army and the rest of us all our iniquities,Amen

    • kevenreal

      A society with retarded brains like you have no hope. Which slum do you come from?

    • seyi

      I only pity ur mother. if u are d product of her labour pain, then it’s a pity for her. she ought to have got rid of u. ur comment has said it all.

      • Terraseas

        @Seyi, I am replying you because you’ve shown disrespect to your grand mother. Although I don’t take pride in saying that when my ex- gave birth to you I ran away because things were tough, I still take exception in seeing the dividend of my relaxation with my girlfriend (your mummy) insulting the very same mother that made it possible for you, by extension, to come to this world. I still blame myself though for not being around to give you the best of training to become a boy. It is not late though. I want you to start behaving well from now onward. Henceforth, I don’t want to see you abusing people under a faceless cover of 1gb!

        • Manuel Tobby

          Thi is very funny!
          How can an insult to your mother made this angrily mad when you said you are okay with murder of these muslims that block the road of our almighty army COAS!

          Very funny indeed. !!!!!!

    • cato

      U deserve nothing but the same military treatment metted out to u and ur family. People where ruthlessly killed and secretly buried and fg instead of acting against the perpetrators are covering it up.

  • Reason-ability

    Why is Falana so intemperate. Please wait for the judicial inquiry.

    • Damilola

      Even when Baba is pushing you to landmine, you will still shout sai Baba. I pity ur family. I hope no one is yet to be retrenched in ur home. Do you know how many jobs av been lost in this few months? No single job has been created, in lieu, thousands of jobs av been lost. Still on this, we queue to buy fuel at arbitrary prices, Dollar is selling almost 300 Naira, from yestd Budget our debt profile is not planned to be eased, instead we’re borrowing 2trillion Naira, while we’re paying 1.4 trillion in debt servicing already from the budget. I kno with the level of ur intelligence u will still be asking yourself, “what’s be saying?”. What I’m telling u with this is that dollar is not slowing down for us at any pace with this frivolous pooh-poohed budget, where we bite more than we can chew. Dollar will keep increasing in this respect. By the time this people are done, a dollar will go not less than #320. We’re still in this, when court orders are flouted at will, today a judge just stepped off presiding over Kanu’s case given the previous orders that have been dusted in the bill. Still on this, some armless pple were massacred by this boogie men govt goons. Still in the light of all these and many more I won’t bored u with, you still open ur soakaway, talking mediocrity in a tomfoolery taste here. Maybe when this things start hitting you directly, d spell casted on u wud be neutralised.

      • Azi

        Please use your brain….Nigerian military are so triger happy when they deal with civilian because they know we don’t have guns to fight them back…..and they abuse the nigerian police because they know their military issued guns are guns more lethal than what the nigerian police carry around…… so this is not about Buhari or APC as a party…. those politicing this issue are just turning a blind eye these abuses from our military….. killing 300 people for bloaking the road and dumbing them in mass graves like birds that have been infected with the dreaded birthflu? And we have people supporting this uncivilized acts? Or could this just be pure hatre for the shiite? What goes around comes around…..soon these guns will be pointed at those supporting this barbaric acts from our military…… PMB will side with the people and will NOT support this madness as some of you in this forum…just stay tune…..those found responsible for these killing will pay, …we will support our military but will not allow gangsters in military uniform to tarnished our military. They will shown the way out…..

        • Damilola

          Look for the English meaning of this Yoruba bird name: “Atioro”. This bird doesn’t have thinking or direction. It moves which ever way the wind instruct it, and still enjoys it, by making some replies like “Ohhh dis is d path”, it has no brain to focus or av a path of its own. Have u forgotten he- Buhari, is the CGFR of the state? If not for the case of “Atioro and the wind” how cud u say the govt mute all this while is justified and we shud be waiting for his action, when? If you as a Buharimaniac knows that noti, come what may, should warrant Military terminating lives they sworn and gave their own “right to life”, to protect, then what stops ur god from knowing this and never issue a statement? Nothing will happen to those soldiers, keep enjoying the brutality and ineptitudeness of your Mr. Body Language

    • cato

      You are distemperate. Apc Zombie.

  • Manuel Tobby

    God bless you Mr Falana. I
    have wondering who will stop the prevailing political correctness and
    tell ourselves the truth death is not the punishment for road blockage
    by anybody except in a jungle and a banana republic.

    We are yet to be shown any soldier injured or killed and not even a broken windscreen of an army vehicle.

    At every slightest provocation, the army must just take law into their hands.

    Army claimed Amnesty International was lying on the accusations of massacre in bornu and yobe states.

    But who murdered nigerians in Odi and ZAKI BIAM?

    But who burnt 7 lag buses in lagos? Unknown soldiers? ??

    A
    lady in lagos was beaten up and stripped naked just bcos she did not
    leave the road for a senior naval officer and his siren blaring
    entourage! !!!!!!!

    Nigerians go through all these
    daily either from police or the barbaric soldiers who always react and
    respond to issues same way like a thug.

    3rd world country indeed!

  • Awarawa

    Thank God Falana finally found his balls. The rate at which this government goes about abusing human rights of its citizen, Abacha would get a post-humor human right award.
    The army should show us the threat to their COAS’s life.
    GEJ was stoned in Katsina and Bauchi during the campaign with some of the security details sustaining injuries but not a single shot was fired, neither were they visited with violence in their homes or arrested…

  • egoigwe

    There are very serious implications for our political trend and society, whatever you call it but democracy it is not. The hidden consequences are bone chilling, especially for a vivid mind. The tragic events that recently unfolded in Zaria are numbing, even moreso the nonchalance and gloating that has followed in its wake. Let religious loyalties aside and ask yourself would it okay for this to happen to my child? My family?? My relations and good friends??? People I love???

    Every time innocent bystanders are killed we must ask ourselves these questions. It could be anybody’s child on the way to the market or heading back from school. Right place, wrong time. One wrong turn and you are in the crossfires of a riotous kill zone. Whatever the arguments, we ought not to encourage our soldiers to go shooting up people on our streets. For the simple fact that it endangers us all, as we have seen in Zaria collateral deaths were substantial. Which is to say people who were ordinarily minding their business and other families whose only misfortune was that they lived in relative proximity to those theatres of massacre.

    It was an e’spirit d’corp massacre of our Northern brothers and sisters and I regret it sorrowfully. Nobody should be persecuted and killed for sake of the religion they profess, nor scorned. Those kind of freedoms and choices just can’t be touched without death and violence, you must suppress, incapacitate or even kill to take away a man’s heart. Whoever wants to dance on that stage intends to go to war, and war we don’t need, no thank you. Children will grow up to listen to stories of how their fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers died on the streets of Zaria because it was a historic event.

    We may just have lost our country to an uncalled for and impulsive fatal showing.

  • Remi

    I am highly disappointed by the silence of PMB and his government. I thought the age of impunity is gone. I did not know it is being watered and given fertilizer by this government. How can the soldiers be the accusers and at the same time judge in their own case. And to make matter even more revolting and pathetic the soldiers for the first time in our history rush to human right body after killing more than 300 Nigerians. Even boko haram will be grinning with envy. What right are they seeking? To kill more people? Is this not the same soldiers that have defied orders by the same human right body? What right can an organization that send soldiers to war with bare hands and if they manage to come back alive sentence them to death for having the audacity to come back alive. They are going to equity without clean but blood stained hands.

  • Otile

    I hate when APC chieftains cause our soldiers to lie. If the devout moslems wanted to kill Aboki Barutai they would dispatch some good suicide bombers to take him out. Mohammed Liar is lying.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    It is disheartening that Buhari is fully complicit in the cover-up and disinformation operations. The bodies are being buried in mass graves and members are detained without access to family,lawyers and personal doctors despite sever bullet wounds. Can this be happening in 21st century Nigerian democracy as most keep mute ?

    Falana has done his bit but he must continue till justice is dispensed.

    • Kñîghtš Tëmpłær

      I have no idea why the government tend to turn a blind eye, only a coward will argue there is no hidden agenda against the Nigerian shittes. The government must stop this senseless and pre-determined sectarian cleansing of shittes in Nigeria. Many reasonable people on here will agree with me, the shitte muslims represents a more civilized portion of the Islamic multitude than the sunni majority…take for example how the Buhari government is killing and subduing the Shittes influence in the north…how did the Shittes respond?, their response has been more often with law and state, rather than suicide bombing, burning churches, mosques, shrines or beheading Nigerians…

  • ojays

    I am greatly disappointed at what’s happing in Nigeria.i sincerely urge the UN, international criminal court to investigate and prosecute anyone indicted.there should be know cover up, it was a premeditated action bcos COAS knew the Shiites were there b4 taking that route to deliberately clash with armless citizens and kill them. The president is involved too otherwise the army chief ought to have been detained and investigated.
    Enough of this, we are more civilized. Let every good natured Nigerian protest this impunity. It is wrong it could happen to any one tomorrow. They wake up and say RCCG is blocking Lagos -Ibadan expressway and start massacring people. Enough is enough. Merry. Xmas folks.