Nigeria Digest #26

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
NIGERIA DIGEST 03 MARCH 2018 (Volume 2 Issue 11)

Introduction
Action Alert
Articles and Resources Digest

INTRODUCTION

Below please find an update on the continuous daily sit out and regular Free Zakzaky protests in the Nigerian capital Abuja and other cities in the country. Also read sister Amina Mustapha’s ordeal on how the Nigerian Army killed her three sons and her husband (personal physician to Shaykh Zakzaky).

We request campaigners to continue with the last week action alert and urge your friends to send letters / emails to ICC. The ICC preliminary examination report for 2017 had an important update, as well as some issues that need clarifying and we request campaigners to raise concerns about the needed clarification.

To find out more about the Zaria massacre, read IHRC’s submission to the International Criminal Court HERE

To find out how you can help further, please visit the IHRC FreeZakzaky campaign page HERE

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Free Zakzaky!

Update on International Criminal Court Investigation

The ICC report for 2017 contained an important update. They stated that they had reached a preliminary finding and that they would seek further clarification from the Nigerian Government.

The text about the Zaria case:

During the reporting period, the Office further continued its factual and legal analysis of other allegations of crimes unrelated to the armed conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces. In that regard, the Office carefully examined the events of December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State, involving clashes between members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (“IMN”) and Nigerian security forces. It is alleged that members of the IMN armed with batons, knives, and machetes stopped the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff on a principle road in Zaria on 12 December 2015 and that in subsequent security operations, the Nigerian military killed at least 349 persons (men, women, and children) while at least 66 others were injured. On the basis of information available, including the report of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry established by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the events, the Office has reached preliminary findings and will seek further clarifications from the Nigerian authorities. (emphasis added, paragraph 213, https://www.icc-cpi.int/itemsDocuments/2017-PE-rep/2017-otp-rep-PE_ENG.pdf)

The ICC declined to explain what the preliminary finding was or what issues they were seeking clarification on, explaining that the this was part of discussions between the Office of the Prosecutor and the Nigerian authorities.

While we do not know what their preliminary findings are, this is a positive step as it shows that the ICC believe there are matters of concern that need to be addressed.

One note of caution, the ICC report states “It is alleged that members of the IMN armed with batons, knives, and machetes stopped the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff on a principle road in Zaria on 12 December 2015”. Despite numerous investigations and reports by various bodies in Nigeria, not a single shred of evidence has been presented showing members of IMN armed and ready to attack soldiers. In fact, all the pictures and videos from the day show soldiers walking around IMN buildings at a leisurely pace without any fear for their safety, before opening fire without any provocation on unarmed IMN supporters. While the ICC report does include the caveat “alleged”, it does not present the victims perspective, and unfairly presents them as the instigators of the violence that took place over those fateful three days.

If the ICC is to be an effective and impartial body that holds perpetrators of international crimes to account, it needs to avoid victim blaming. Caveats do not obviate the fact that the victims have been falsely accused of violence thereby giving credence to the governments false claim that this was a law and order operation to contain IMN violence. The ICC needs to be more responsible, it cannot become a vehicle for perpetrators of grave crimes against humanity to peddle false narratives against their victims.

We will await the ICC’s final determination.

ACTION ALERT: Raise Your Concern About ICC Preliminary Examination & Demand ICC To Avoid Victim Blaming

1. Write to the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, model letter/email provided below;
2. Please forward any response you receive to IHRC on info@ihrc.org.

Model email / letter

For the attention of Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Dear Ms Bensouda,

I am writing to raise my concern about the ICC Preliminary examination into the massacre committed by the Nigerian army in Zaria, Nigeria in December 2015.

In the Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2017 it states, “It is alleged that members of the IMN armed with batons, knives, and machetes stopped the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff on a principle road in Zaria on 12 December 2015”.

This characterisation of Islamic Movement of Nigeria’s (IMN) supporters in this report is false and alarming. Despite numerous investigations and reports by various bodies in Nigeria, not a single shred of credible evidence has been presented showing members of IMN armed and ready to attack soldiers. In fact, all the pictures and videos from the attack show soldiers walking around IMN buildings at a leisurely pace without any fear for their safety as they took their position, before opening fire without any provocation on unarmed IMN supporters. The Islamic Human Rights Commission has documented this extensively in their communication to the ICC (https://ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/11646-investigating-the-attack-against-the-islamic-movement-of-nigeria-on-12-13-december-2015-in-zaria) and on their website (https://ihrc.org.uk).

While the ICC report does state the word “alleged”, it does not present the victims perspective, and unfairly presents them as the instigators of the violence that took place over those fateful three days.

If the ICC is to be an effective and impartial body that holds perpetrators of international crimes to account, it needs to avoid victim blaming. Caveats do not avoid the fact that the ICC has regurgitated a narrative in which the victims are falsely accused of violence thereby giving credence to the governments false claim that this was a law and order operation to contain IMN violence. The ICC needs to be more responsible, it cannot become a vehicle for perpetrators of grave crimes against humanity to peddle false narratives against their victims.

I am pleased to hear that the ICC has reached preliminary findings and will be seeking further clarifications from the Nigerian authorities. Given my concerns above, I would like to know what the ICC will do to get clarification / information from IMN, the victims of the army’s attack, those who remain imprisoned without trial as well as the witnesses who saw the army’s unprovoked criminal behaviour.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

By Mail:
Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands

By Email: otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

Via twitter: @IntlCrimCourt / @CourPenaleInt, please use the hashtags: #FatouBensouda and #ICC

ARTICLES AND RESOURCES

Free Zakzaky at Abuja National Mosque on Friday
02 March 2018
Regular #FreeZakzaky protests continued in capital Abuja, on Friday 02nd March a massive rally of Islamic movement members and concerned Nigerians demanded immediate release of the leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and justice for the victims of Zaria Massacre.

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Another Consecutive Free Zakzaky Rally in Abuja
01 March 2018
On Thursday 01 March 2018, yet another #FreeZakzaky Rally from National Mosque Abuja to demand immediate release of unlawfully detained Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.

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In Daily Sit Out Sister Amina Mustapha recalls her ordeal
“How the Nigerian Army Killed My Husband (Physician of the leader) and Three Sons”
01 March 2018
In what appears to be an emotional afternoon for Members of Concerned Nigerians and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN. Hajia Amina Mustapha, wife of the personal Physician to the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has narrated how she lost her husband, Dr Mustapha, her three sons and his 4-year old son whose Spinal Cord was damaged when the Nigerian Police attacked them.

Hajia Mustapha who could not hold back her tears also narrated how she was molested, harassed and accused by officers and Men of the Nigerian Army attached to the American Embassy of being Suicide bomber.

According to her, the soldiers on sighting her at the American embassy where she went to lodge a formal complain to the embassy on the killing of her husband and three sons, Began to attack her, accusing her of coming to bomb the embassy because she was wearing Hijab. One of the soldiers who recognized her as a member of shittes told his fellow soldiers not to release her that she was an extremist.

Members of IMN have come under series of attacks by the Nigerian Security Forces with their leader, Sheik Zakzaky being held captive for over two years against a valid court order that says he should be released unconditionally.

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Yet Another Massive Free Zakzaky Protest in Abuja
28th Feb 2018
Massive Free Zakzaky protest was staged in Abuja on Wednesday the 28th of Feb 2018 in two areas- Wuse and Maitama district.

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#FreeZakzaky Protests in Abuja on Tuesday
27 February 2018
A big number of brothers and sisters came out in another continuous protest in Abuja on Tuesday the 27th of Feb 2018.

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Free Zakzaky Protest in Zaria
27 February 2018
A Free Zakzaky protest was staged in Zaria on Tuesday 27 February 2018. Protesters demanded immediate release of the Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and justice for the Zaria massacre victims. Following are few pictures shared online by protesters.

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Day 40 of Daily Sit Out by Concerned Nigerians in Abuja
26 February 2018

Day 40 on Monday 26 February; Convener Deji Adeyanju andothers spoke during daily sit out demanding release of Sheikh Zakzaky at Unity Fountain Abuja on Monday the 26th of Feb 2018. Present during the sit out was Prof Chidi Odinkalu.

Concerned Nigerians is a pro democracy group committed to accountability, rule of law and anti-corruption in Nigeria.

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Youth staged a massive FreeZakzaky Protest in Abuja
26 February 2018
Free Zakzaky Protest staged by youths in Abuja on Monday the 26th of Feb 2018

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Free Zakzaky Protest in Zaria on 25th of Feb 2018
25 February 2018
Youth staged a fresh free Zakzaky protest in Zaria on Sunday the 25th of Feb 2018. 

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Reflections: Survivor’s Diary, Zaria Massacre
Military Evacuated Three Large Truck-Load Of Corpses From Zakzaky’s Residence Alone
01 March 2018 – Musa Muhammad Waqia, Zaria Massacre Survivor

A witness and survivor of the horrendous Zaria massacre, Musa Muhammad Waqia, has described that from the frontage of Sheikh Zakzaky’s residence alone, the military evacuated at least 3 large truck-filled load of corpses.

Musa Waqia, who said he came to Zaria from Lafia in Nasarawa state, arrived Gyellesu much late when the military had already started the shooting spree mainly from the main road leading to the Sheikh’s residence. He therefore used one of the numerous footpaths from the back to gain access to the house.

“At that time they were just a stone throw from the residence,” he said. According to him, they had killed so many already and corpses littered everywhere in heaps along every stretch of road around the residence.

He said as dawn approached, they were only a few left alive in front of the Sheikh’s residence. “We were forced to enter the compound as shooting intensified.” Musa said within the compound, there were hundreds of corpses of those killed and brought in by volunteers. There were hundreds also of those with gun shot injuries – men, women and children – apparently waiting for their own death…

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
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HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222

Email: info@ihrc.org

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Twitter @ihrc

The opinions expressed in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of IHRC

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