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HomeBattaFilesSPECIAL REPORT: Families Of Victims Of Zaria Massacre Write Tinubu, Demand Compensation

SPECIAL REPORT: Families Of Victims Of Zaria Massacre Write Tinubu, Demand Compensation

The relatives of the victims killed by soldiers in Dec. 2015 Zaria massacre have demanded compensation over repeated gross violation of fundamental human rights by Nasir El-Rufai led administration in Kaduna State. 

The families in a letter sent to President Bola Tinubu said El-Rufai’s tenure was among the most blood-soaked in the state’s history. The letter was signed by Massoud Shadjareh, Chairman of Islamic Human Rights Commission. 

“You may recall that El-Rufai has been named in a complaint to the International Criminal Court for his role in the massacre of over 1000 supporters of the IMN in December 2015. He has also presided over various attacks on the movement in the state in an undisguised bid to wipe it out. Furthermore, the injustices committed against the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, continue to this day,” part of the letter read. 

Zaria massacre

BattaFiles understands that between Dec. 12 and 14, 2015, some soldiers attacked Shia Muslims, mostly members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), while celebrating Rabi’ al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar which signifies the birth of Prophet Muhammad. 

While the military accused the Shia Muslims of attempting to kill ex-army chief, Tukur Buratai, multiple sources said the soldiers killed scores without any threat to Buratai’s safety.

Relatives of people killed during the attack said the soldiers had come to the venue of their programme to disrupt their planned events.

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As the arguments between the soldiers and the IMN members got intense, the soldiers reportedly opened fire on the people, killing scores. They later proceeded to the residence of El-Zakzaky, where hundreds of people were hiding. 

Amnesty International said the incident led to the death of hundreds of people and many were allegedly buried secretly by the army in a mass grave. No fewer than 23 families were said to have been wiped out of existence. 

The group’s leader, El-Zakzaky was also arrested alongside his wife and hundreds of other members.

After public outrage, the Kaduna government set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the killings and, in 2016, the panel indicted the army, saying the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army’s 1st Division, Adeniyi Oyebade, ordered the attack on the Shia Muslims.

The committee concluded that no fewer than 347 Shia Muslims were killed.

Some families lost as many as six members as they currently live in sorrow, tears and blood. 

Compensation 

In its letter to Tinubu,  the Islamic Human Rights Commission urged the president to do everything in its power to exclude El-Rufai from any political office in the future and investigate his crimes with a view to prosecuting him for his many abuses.

“Your administration should also start the process of compensating the victims of El-Rufai’s crimes. This is an opportune moment for you to restore public faith in the rule of law in Nigeria. 

“Leaving El-Rufai’s crimes unanswered will only send the message that there is no rule of law in the country and leave a stain on the country, your party and administration.

“There is a huge expectation both inside and outside the country for meaningful change to address the legitimate and longstanding aspirations of the Nigerian people. We hope and pray that your administration can rise to the challenge,” the letter read.

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