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Human rights commission urged to probe Abakaliki Prison’s killings

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja   |   04 October 2016   |   1:25 am
Nigeria Prison

Nigeria Prison

The Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE-Nigeria) has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over allegations of extra-judicial killings of six inmates of Abakaliki Prisons during a protest.

A letter addressed to the Executive Secretary, NHRC, Prof Bem Angwe, the organisation, through its Executive Director, Mr. Sylvester Uhaa, demanded an investigation into the cause of the riot that resulted in the killing of unarmed prisoners in August.

Uyaa said the petition came as a reminder to the government so as to avoid a situation, where the ugly incident would be swept under the carpet.

The letter reads: “CURE-Nigeria, its partners and indeed, the entire community of human rights advocates at home and abroad, express dissatisfaction that more than a month after the alleged incident, we are unaware of any investigation by the commission into the matter.

“There has been no move to establish the remote and immediate causes of the riot and the alleged killings of the inmates. The death of six inmates in such circumstances cannot be swept under the carpet or ignored,” the statement said.

According to the group, “We note that just like the commission launched investigations into other alleged extra-judicial and arbitrary killings, so should the commission, if it has not already done so, launch an investigation into the alleged killings of the six inmates. This would determine what led to the riot and establish the legitimacy, necessity and proportionality or otherwise of the use of firearms by the law enforcement officers.”

“Failure to do so will send a wrong signal that the lives of people in prison do not matter, and that the commission is selective in the exercise of its mandate to protect the rights of Nigerians, especially the right to life without which other human rights cannot be enjoyed.

“Finally, we call on the commission to make the findings public, bring perpetrators to account and ensure that compensations are paid to victims’ families and that measures are put in place to avoid reoccurrence.”

Six inmates of Abakaliki Prisons were allegedly killed in August during a protest.

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