25 Years After, Murtala Family Calls for Enactment of Victims’ Rights Law


    Shola Oyeyipo
    Twenty Five years after the death of the eldest son of the late former Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, Zackari, the family has asked the National Assembly to enact the Victims’ Rights Laws, which would protect the rights of victims of such heinous crimes.

    Zackari, 27, a graduate of the University of Canterbury in Kent, United Kingdom, was fatally shot on August 13, 1993, in Abuja.
    At a special prayer organised by the Murtala Muhammed family to mark the 25 years remembrance of the late Finance graduate, the family observed that the manner at which the case ended and shrouded in confusion was an obvious injustice.

    According to the elder sister to Zackari, Mrs. Aisha Muhammed Oyebode, who spoke with journalists, “25 years ago today, our brother’s life was fatally cut short. Despite knowing who the perpetrator was and all efforts to prosecute the matter, the case did not make it past the initial investigation and arraignment.

    “Therefore, in order to give protection to future victims of such heinous crimes, and as a remembrance to our brother, we want to call for the enactment of victims’ rights legislation.”
    Oyebode stressed that such law “is crucial at a time like this, because it is one way to ensure that the rights of victims of all crimes are protected in criminal prosecutions.”

    She added that “all around the world, victims’ rights have been acknowledged as a basic human right. As far back as 1985, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. So it is time for Nigeria to adopt a victim centric approach to criminal justice.

    “Until such legislation is promulgated,” she submited that “many such crimes will continue to remain unsolved, encouraging unlawful killings and criminal impunity in our country. Particularly in the crime of murder, where the primary victim has been killed, the secondary victims of the crime must be able to have the legal support to seek justice and push the prosecution to its logical conclusion.”

    She described late Zackari as a kind and very considerate son and brother whose passion for the family and country was unquantifiable. “We miss his laugher too,” Oyebode said.
    In his memory, family members, including brothers, sisters, nephews and neices among others, held special prayers in Lagos and Abuja.

    Oyebode added that the 25 years remembrance would include supporting his Alma mater, King’s College Lagos, with academic resources in his memory.