Nigerians in diaspora may sue Islamic rights commission over Army, Shiite clash
Lawyers withdraw appearance for group at judicial panel
Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, United Kingdom (UK) Chapter, has threatened to take the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) to the International Criminal Court of Justice over what it described as an attempt by IHRC to blackmail the Nigerian army in its report on the Army-Shiite clash.
The UK representative of the group, Adeka Onyilo, in an electronic statement said patriotic Nigerians would not sit and watch while IHRC tries to blackmail the Nigerian Army, discredit the Federal Government and stigmatise the citizens as people with no respect for rule of law.
Onyilo, who is a British-Nigerian, said the group had followed the development back at home with keen interest and wondered why prominent Nigerians trained with Nigeria’s resources could have become members of such groups used to blackmail the Nigerian government.
He said claims by the ICHR that at least 1,000 unarmed civilians, mostly Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) members, were killed by gunshots attributed to soldiers showed how desperate they were to peddle lies against the Nigerian state.
In another development, the legal team of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), led by Chief Femi Falana (SAN) and Mr. Festus Okoye yesterday announced their withdrawal from the sitting of the judicial panel set up by the Kaduna State government to unearth the cause of the bloody clash that led to the death of scores of people.
The lawyers alleged a predetermined position by government in the investigation of the Shiites-soldiers clash in Zaria.They have vehemently opposed the manner in which the Judicial Commission of inquiry was conducting the proceedings, claiming that they were ready to pursue other legal means of providing justice to the Islamic group when required to do so.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, Mr. Okoye who stated the positions of the legal team representing the leader of IMN, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, said: “The legal team of the IMN will not be used and allow itself to be used to legitimise a pre-determined position and agenda against the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the IMN.”
The Diaspora Monitoring Group said it was surprised that while the Shiite sect terrorised Zaria residents and flagrantly disobeyed constituted authorities and while the Boko Haram terrorists killed thousands of Nigerians, the ICHR never raised a voice to condemn their actions.
This, the group said, was a clear sign that the ICHR could be sympathetic to the Boko Haram terrorists and also called on security agencies to keep close watch on their activities.
He said: “Nigerians in Diaspora are still wondering why it took this so-called ICHR these long years of hibernation to comment on the numerous atrocities of Boko Haram which is the militant wing of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria or to visit the numerous families at the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp who have been rendered homeless, sick, helpless and begging God to see the next day under the cruel hardship that they have been faced with.
“The Nigerians in Diaspora will challenge them and their sponsors at the International Criminal Court of Justice for the whole world to know the truth and not to give in to the criminal conspiracy to undermine the Nigerian state at any point in time.”
According to Onyilo, like any responsible nation with respect for human rights and sanctity of life, the Nigerian government has dutifully instituted a commission of inquiry to look into the altercations between the sect and the Nigerian Army, a move, which he said, had been saluted by various international organisations.
He said: “It therefore beats our imagination that these groups with a sinister motive have refused to plead their case at home but have rather gone to the international arena to perfect their lies in order to draw world attention into legitimising their crimes against humanity.”
Okoye, who stated the rigorous procedures and processes El-Zakzaky lawyers were put through to ensure access to him in other to get his briefings, said that “the access to him were denied by those who kept him and his wife in detention.”
“We have resolved that in the light of the realities of lack of access, briefing and representation for the Movement, the most honourable thing to do is to withdraw completely from appearance before the commission in whatever form and manner and to cease any form of representation in whatever form or manner for the movement”.
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