IHRC has appealed to the new Nigerian president, Bola Tinubu, to take action against a former state governor who made it his mission to leave behind him a trail of misery and destruction in his final days in office.
Nasir El-Rufai began destroying properties allegedly connected to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and other faiths before he stepped down from his post shortly before the end of May.
After issuing a circular that he would destroy 48 premises connected to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, El-Rufai set about executing his threat with alarming vigour.
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 reisdential building owned by a follower of the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.
And overnight Monday 22 May, authroties 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.
He also demolished a church.
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.
The demolitions 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.
The letter urges the incoming administration to do everything in its power to exclude El-Rufai from any political office in the future and investigate his crimes with a view to prosecuting him for his many abuses.
It also calls on the new administration to start the process of compensating the victims of El-Rufai’s crimes. Most notable among these are the supporters and members of the Islamic Movement, foremost among them its leader Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. 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. The letter urges the new president to set right this injustice as a matter of urgency.
“This is an opportune moment for you to restore public faith in the rule of law in Nigeria,” says the letter. “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.”
The full letter can be read here.