By Udora Orizu in Abuja
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana; Transition Monitoring Group (TMG); Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and other rights activists have tasked the federal government to end the incessant killings in Zamfara State.
In a petition, the activists regretted that despite the federal government’s assurance to protect the life and property of every Nigerian citizen, bandits have continued to unleash mayhem on the people of Zamfara State unabated.
Signatories to the petition included Falana, Kolawole Olaniyan, Chidi Odinkalu, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Adetokunbo Mumuni, Lanre Suraj, Malachi Ugwummadu, Amnesty Interna-tional Nigeria, SERAP, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) , and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC).
Others are the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR) and TMG. The actvitists noted that despite the assurance of the federal government to protect the life and property of every Nigerian citizen, the bandits have continued to unleash mayhem on the people of Zamfara State unabated.
According to the activists: “We condemn the incessant killing of unarmed people, abduction and rape of women by bandits that have been terrorising the law-abiding people of Zamfara State for quite some time.
“Recently, Governor Abdulaziz Yari announced that he was quitting as the chief security officer of the state and urged Allah to take control of the security situation. Since then, the intensity of the reckless attacks by the bandits have continued unabated. Having been left completely at the mercy of the criminal gangs, the people have decided to draw public attention to their plight by embarking on peaceful rallies.
“Since the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to assemble peacefully and express themselves freely is guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) we support the rallies convened by the people of Zamfara State to protest the state of anarchy and chaos in the
“ Instead of adopting adequate measures to restore law and order in the State the Nigerian Army has been dispatched by the federal government to stop the protests. As usual, armed troops have killed a number of the people for staging protests against the armed bandits,” the petitioners said.
They urged the Nigerian authorities to immediately end the involvement of the Army in the maintenance of internal security in the country as it has always led to wanton killing of innocent people.
“End harassment and intimidation of the people of Zamfara State by the Nigerian Army, urgently recruit and train adequate number of police personnel to secure the country, pay adequate compensation to the families of the people who have been killed by the armed bandits and Nigerian Army in Zamfara State and ensure prosecution of the armed bandits arrested by security forces for committing the offences of rape, armed robbery, abduction, culpable homicide and other human rights abuses and crimes under international law,” they said.