Letter to new Nigerian President re human rights abuses

Letter to new Nigerian President re human rights abuses

HE President Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu

Office of the President

The Aso Rock Presidential Villa

Yakubu Gowon Crescent

The Three Arms Zone


Abuja, FCT



30 May 2023

By email: info@statehouse.gov.ng


Dear President Bola Tinubu, Assalamu-alaikum,

We congratulate you on your election victory and wish you all the best in your efforts to govern Nigeria. We hope it will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for the people and mark the beginning of the end of the rampant abuses that prevail across the country.

If Nigeria is to be seen as a nation that fulfils the genuine needs and aspirations of its people, you must address the long running abuses of power carried out by the likes of the former governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai.

El-Rufai’s tenure has been among the most blood-soaked in the state’s history. Not content with the damage he has already wrought, the former governor went on a rampage of revenge in his final days in office, leaving behind another trail of destruction and victims.

After issuing a circular earlier in May that he would destroy 48 premises connected to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, El-Rufai set about executing his threat with alarming vigour shortly before leaving office.

In the early hours of Sunday 21 May, El-Rufai’s henchmen demolished three Islamic schools said to be connected to the IMN, a hospital and a residential building owned by a follower of the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

And overnight Monday 22 May, authorities moved in to destroy another two schools and a home belonging to a man whose son is a supporter of the IMN, although the man has other sons who are Salafis and therefore theologically opposed to the movement.

The attacks came despite an application to the High Court on May 19 by seven plaintiffs whose properties are included in the demolition list for a perpetual injunction that would prevent El-Rufai from carrying out his threat.

He also demolished a church.

It is clear that El-Rufai has been punishing everyone he sees as his enemies ending before his tenure expired. These demolitions should also be seen as a violent rampage by a man whose hands are deeply stained with the blood of supporters of the Islamic Movement.

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. Despite being exonerated of all charges laid against them, the ailing Sheikh and his wife continue to be denied the ability to travel abroad to access much needed medical treatment because the authorities continue to refuse to return their passports without any legal justification. We call on you to set right this matter as a matter of urgency.

The recent demolitions in Kaduna are further proof that El-Rufai has operated as a law unto himself and cannot ever be allowed to hold public office again. Quite simply, he is not fit to govern.

We urge your incoming administration to do everything in its power to exclude El-Rufai from any political office in the future and to 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.

Yours sincerely

Massoud Shadjareh

Chair, Islamic Human Rights Commission


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