Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission demanding a probe into alleged killings of about 492 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, also known as Shi’ites, by both the Army and the police since 2014.
In his petition dated November 2, 2018 and addressed to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu, Falana gave seven days ultimatum to the commission to accede to his demand.
He threatened that should the commission fail to grant his request before the expiration of the ultimatum, he would report what he described as “the genocidal acts and crimes against humanity” being allegedly committed by officials of the Federal Government’s security agencies to the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in contravention of Article 7 of the Rome Statute.
His letter said to have been submitted to the commission’s headquarters on Monday, stated in part, “In order to restrain the heads of the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police Force and State Security Service (who are Sunnis) from further deploying the machinery of the Federal Government to prosecute an intra-religious war, we urge you to arrest the extermination of the Shi’ites without any further delay.
“Since the nation cannot afford to turn the Islamic Movement of Nigeria into another terrorist organisation like the satanic Boko Haram sect, we request the National Human Rights Commission to conduct a full scale inquiry into the gross violations of the fundamental rights of the Shi’ites highlighted in this letter.
“Take notice that if you fail to grant our request within seven days of the receipt of this letter, we shall not hesitate to report the genocidal acts and crimes against humanity being committed by well known officials of the security agencies to the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in contravention of article 7 of the Rome Statute.
“The request will be anchored on the unwillingness or inability of the Federal Government to prosecute the criminal elements who are involved in the reckless massacre of the Shi’ites.”
Falana stated in his petition, titled, ‘Request for investigation of the illegal killing of 492 Shi’ites by the Army and the Police from 2014-2018’, that not less than 492 Shi’ites were “recklessly massacred in Zaria, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano and Abuja by armed military and police personnel” since 2014.
About 49 Shi’ites were reportedly killed in the last rounds of clash between them and security agencies in Abuja during their demonstration demanding the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, who had been detained by the Federal Government since 2015.