House of Reps panel meets COAS over Army, Shiite clash in Zaria
• HURIWA calls for better civilian-military relations
MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence yesterday met in a closed-door meeting with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Tukur Buratai till late Tuesday evening over the recent clash between soldiers and members of Shiite Islamic religious sect in Zaria , Kaduna State.
Meanwhile, a pro-democracy Human Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA ) has canvassed for increased civil cum military partnership for nation building.
The group also tasked the Federal Government to fortify the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission by appointing a vibrant and credible civil society activist of proven records to head the administrative hierarchy of the commission for greater efficiency and prompt redress of alleged violations of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens.
Fielding questions after the meeting yesterday, chairman of the committee, Aminu Sani Jaji (APC, Zamfara) told newsmen that the panel engaged the army chief to ascertain what actually transpired on the day of the incident.
He said the committee earlier met with the Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura on the matter and that the panel plans to meet with the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase before or after Christmas.
He regretted that the panel’s several attempts to meet leaders of the sect in Zaria did not yield results, as the members could not be traced.
HURIWA, in a statement issued by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko stated that from available information and eye witness accounts it got from Zaria in Kaduna State that there is the urgent need for Nigerians to support the ongoing local remedial mechanisms such as the decision by the Nigerian Army hierarchy to approach the National Human Rights Commission for investigation over alleged rights abuses by the Zaria based Shiite movement and also the judicial commission of inquiry instituted by the Kaduna State government.
Onwubiko explained that although the incident that precipitated to needless deaths was regrettable and advised that circumspection is needed now so that an atmosphere of persistently mutual suspicions between the Nigerian military and the civil populace is not popularized and enthroned.
“The Nigerian military as much as they need us in the larger civil society community because without the people of Nigeria who own the sovereignty of Nigeria there would be no Nigerian military and at the same time without the Nigerian military our territorial integrity will be imperiled thereby making it impossible for the human rights of the citizenry to be promoted, protected and nurtured and for civil democracy to be permanently enthroned.”
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