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The attention of the Network for Justice (a human rights and consumer rights association) has been drawn to two incidents in the last week which touch on the human rights of Nigerian citizens.
The first was the killing of 21 persons who were allegedly involved in a jail break at the detention centre of the Headquarters of State Security Service, Asokoro District, Abuja on Sunday, 30th march, 2014. This is a very sad and unfortunate event involving the shedding of the blood of Nigerian citizens without due process. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and all the security agencies to uphold the civil rights and fundamental freedom of all citizens as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The second incident was that of the invasion of the village of Ladduga Grazing Reserve in Kachia Local Government of Kaduna State by soldiers on Saturday 29th March 2014 without complying with the rules of engagement when the military are involved in civilian conflicts. For the avoidance of doubts, the Rules of Engagement at the very minimum demands that a magistrate, the police, Journalists and a representative of the community must be involved in such activities.
The settlement is composed of cattle herders who were cordoned in the mosque early in the morning in order to allegedly search for arms in the village. Members of the community reported that many people, including community leaders, were physically assaulted and food items, personal belongings and other household items of the villagers were vandalized in the process.
In addition over 20 people were randomly arrested including an under aged girl and her parents and dehumanized by stripping them naked before the community.
The commander of the operation accused the community, without evidence, of being responsible for all attacks in Southern Kaduna and threatened them with total extermination. These are certainly beyond the briefs of a responsible officer working to promote peace and security in this country.
At the end of the search no conventional weapons were discovered in the village. The citizens of the village have affirmed their peaceful and loyal nature with respect to harmonious living with other communities.
In view of the above the Network for Justice wish similarly call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and security agencies to respect the constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens and to avoid acts which smack of selective and vindictive treatment of law abiding citizens.
On the whole we call on both the Government and the citizens to abide by the social contract which binds them as corner stone, of constitutional democracy anywhere in the World. The authorities must govern according to the rule of law while the citizens have to respect the constituted authority and discharge their lawful obligations to the state. These shall be the foundations for justice, peace and development in our nation.
A.S. Mohammed mni
( Executive Director )
31st March 31, 2014.