Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida
9 Northumberland Avenue
Islamic Human Rights Commission is a NGO based in London; we have consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Our aims are to secure the human rights of all people and to help create awareness of injustices across the world.
I am writing to express my concerns over the treatment of members of the Islamic Movement headed by Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky by the Nigerian government. We have been monitoring the situation since 1997 and feel recent events indicate an increase in hostile action against them by the Nigerian government.
On July 25, 2014 armed soldiers opened fire on unarmed civilians attending the annual Al-Quds day procession in Zaria. The procession is held every Ramadan across the world and in various cities in Nigeria to show solidarity with the people of Palestine. This incident was unprovoked. A number of young men were arrested at the procession and were tortured, leading to the deaths of 12 young men. The following day the same soldiers opened fire on a community centre in Zaria killing more people. Three of the fatalities were Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky’s sons. IHRC has produced a full report on this: https://ihrc.org.uk/attachments/article/11219/Nigeria%20Report-FV.pdf
On 03 November 2015 a deadly suicide attack targeting Ashura commemorations in the city of Potiskum, Nigeria killed 29 injured approximately 80. There was subsequent gunfire from soldiers who arrived at the scene and aimed at the civilians. About half of the dead were children. According to local sources who contacted the IHRC the finger of suspicion is being pointed at the Nigerian military.
On 29 March 2015 there was another deadly attack by soldiers outside the Islamic Movement’s centre in Zango. One person was killed and 4 injured.
On 07 May 2015 we saw a further attack on Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky’s home in Zaria by a mob linked to state security. Fortunately no one was hurt during that event.
The above is just a summary of some of the incidents that have happened in the last year. As you will no doubt agree with us, these attacks are deeply troubling. It is cruel and inhumane for the state to attack and kill its own citizens for being members of a peaceful movement. These events strongly suggest that at least a section of the Nigerian army is totally out of control and is committing murder and extra-judicial killings of unarmed civilians with apparent impunity.
We are concerned by this continued and escalating state violence against civilians and fear that these attacks will be repeated again during the Al-Quds processions of 2015 which will take place in July. We urge you to raise these concerns with the relevant authorities in Nigeria so that the army’s murderous violence can be curbed and those guilty can be brought to justice.
I look forward to hearing from you.