NIGERIA: Turmoil for Muslims continues as female protestor shot dead by police

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598, Wembley, HA0 4XX

NIGERIA: Turmoil for Muslims continues as female protestor shot dead by police
Urgent Action Required

22 Jan, 1999

1. Political Prisoners.
2. Protests
3. Persecution of believers / Freedom of worship / expression
4. IHRC recommended action for campaigners
5. Addresses for campaigners

1. One month has elapsed since the release of the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic opposition, Mu’allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky. Despite his release and that of his three co-defendants, after charges against them were dropped by the A-G of Kaduna, an estimated 60 brothers are still imprisoned. Their fate seems ambiguous – they are to be released according to officials, but no release date has been set. An unconfirmed number have died in a TB outbreak in one of the prisons.

2. Friday 22, January 1999, saw the largest ever Quds Day demonstration held in Nigeria. An estimated 1 million people marched through Zaria, in the north of the country. The demonstration started from two points: City Square and Sabon Gari. It finished at approximately 12.30 p.m. in Tudun Wada outside the Central Mosque. As marchers were dispersing a police van with seven armed officers drove away firing into the crowd.

One female protestor, Haleema Umar Yaawuri, a mother of two infants in her twenties was killed in this incident.

3. Subsequent to the demonstration, armed police surrounded the house of Al-Zakzaky and opened fire, injuring two friends of the family. This caused an uproar in the neighbourhood, and hundreds of Muslims rushed to the scene, causing the police to retreat. This is just the latest form of persecution that Zakzaky and others have suffered since the supposed end of political violence by the authorities in Nigeria. Each Friday police block the main highways in Zaria to prevent both Zakzaky from reaching the University campus to lead Friday prayers, and to stop worshippers from attending.

4. Action is needed immediately to stop these abuses from going on unchallenged. IHRC is requesting campaigners to write to their Foreign Minister demanding that they take punitive action against Nigeria for its continued abuse of human rights.

Further letter should be sent to the Commonwealth Secretariat demanding that they stop the reintroduction of Nigeria to its fold, until it ends all forms of political violence against its people. At the moment, the Commonwealth’s official stand is that it will reintegrate Nigeria once its elections have been successfully completed. Whilst the election programme is continuing nicely, violence from the authorities against Muslims continues unabated.

Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs
Old Admiralty Building
Pall Mall

Rt. Hon. Tony Lloyd MP
Minister of State for African affairs
Old Admiralty Building
Pall Mall

Both ministers can be contacted on:
Telephone: 0171 270 3000
Fax: 0171 839 2417
Fax: 0171 270 3539

The e-mail for the Labour Party is:

The Nigerian High Commissioner in London is Mr. O. U. Okeke, Nigerian High Commission, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK, WC2.

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
K1A 0G2

Hon. Christine Stewart
Minister of State (Latin America and Africa)
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
K1A 0G2

We are also requesting Canadian campaigners to write to or e-mail the Special Envoy for Central and Western Africa, Mr. Jacques Crête an the same address (his e-mail is
Johnnie Carson
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Public Information, Rm. 6808
Bureau of Public Affairs
US Department of State
Washington, DC 20520-6810
Tel: 202-647-6575 (between 9:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. EST)


South Africa

Mr Alfred Nzo (ANC)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Private Bag X152

Mr Aziz Pahad (ANC)
Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth
Marlborough House
Pall Mall

Fax: (+44) 171 930 6128

For specimen letters, more details etc. contact IHRC on the numbers above. [END]