Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a Shiite group, has, in a letter to the United States government, urged it to impose arms and travel embargoes on the Nigerian military, as well as political leaders over alleged rights violation.
The letter, dated August 17 and signed by the head of the Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdulrahaman Abubakar, referenced “appalling human rights record” of the Nigerian military as the reason for the group’s “vehement objection to the proposed sale of weapons and military hardware to the government of Nigeria.”
The group stated that “the military’s human rights record in Nigeria is utterly dismal and the Nigerian government’s commitment to the rule of law is even worse off.”
IMN further noted what it termed the “incessant refusal of the government to acknowledge excesses of the military in handling civilian matters, but even tries to justify them.”
It stated that, “the blatant murder of 34 unarmed civilians in Zaria in 2014, including the children of Sheikh Zakzaky, without the government doing anything about it.
“As if it was not grievous enough, the murderous soldiers returned in December, 2015 with an even more brutal force, resulting in the death of over a thousand innocent citizens. The initial response of the government to this callous disregard for human lives was to say, it was a ‘military affair’.”
IMN further alleged that “there is usually no properly conducted inquiries, no prosecutions, no remorse and no public apologies after such acts by the military”, claiming that the government was guilty of “shirking in its duties to hold its soldiers to account.”
On its leader, Ibraheem Zakzaky, and his wife, the group lamented their continued incarceration, stating that “after shooting them at point-blank range, treated them in the most humiliating and denigrating manner before hauling them into incommunicado detention without charges for twenty months.
“Even after a Nigerian High Court had ruled that the detention is unconstitutional and ordered their release, the government has continued to contemptuously defy the order.”
IMN therefore called for a complete arms embargo to be placed on the Nigerian military, as well as travel bans and other embargoes for senior military and political leaders “until a genuine commitment to the principles of rule of law, justice, fair play and human rights can be demonstrated beyond rhetoric and half-hearted measures by the government”.
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