Set up panel to investigate alleged killing of MASSOB/IPOB members, Falana tells FG

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the killing of the MASSOB/IPOB members.

Falana asked the Federal Government to investigate the killings of scores of the Shiites killed by the army and the police, in view of the admission of the Nigerian Army that it killed five protesters instead of the 150 alleged by Amnesty International.

Falana who said this at the 2016 Law Week of the Jos branch of the Nigerian Bar association, called on the government to look into what Amnesty International said about the killings.

“The peaceful protests to demand the release of a leader of the movement, Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky and his wife from illegal incarceration by the SSS have been violently suppressed under the pretext that the religious group has been banned without any court order. Meanwhile, the armed soldiers who have engaged in the killings have not been charged to any criminal court whatsoever.”

“It is curious to note that neither the national leadership of the NBA nor any of its 109 branches has deemed it fit to condemn the crimes against humanity committed by the army and the worsening human rights record of the federal government,” Falana said.

He however added that the NBA reacted angrily to the nocturnal raid of the homes of seven judges who were arrested for alleged corrupt practices last month by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS).

“However, while not supporting the harassment of the judges, I did not hesitate in condemning the NBA for engaging in hypocrisy by limiting the defence of human rights to the senior members of the legal profession. Since this is a body of lawyers I wish to state, without any fear of contradiction that the Department of State Security (DSS) is not a juristic personality as it is unknown to law. So, if you sue the Department of State Security instead of the State Security Service in any of the courts the case will be struck by virtue of the Nigeria Security Agencies Act (Cap N74) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

“At the same time the anti-graft agencies should put an end to the media trial of criminal suspects. Otherwise, transparency and other western anti corruption bodies will continue to justify the fraudulent stigmatisation of the victims of grand corruption,” Falana said.