By SONI DANIEL Regional Editor, North
Last Friday’s killing of ten artisans by security agents at the Gudu District of Abuja on suspicion of being Boko Haram terrorists yesterday drew flasks from the Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, which described the attack as nothing but a premeditated murder of innocent poverty-stricken Nigerians.
The Secretary General of NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, in the first reaction of the group to the killings, said that the Department of State Security Service and all those involved in the shooting and killing of the artisans had committed murder and must be urgently brought to trial to account for the souls.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard in Abuja, the former Ahmadu Bello University Vice Chancellor pointed out that the Federal Government must not allow the culprits to go unpunished for the callous act so as not to set a dangerous precedence for other trigger-happy agents of the administration.
While calling for the probe of the relationship between the house owner and the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Security Service, the NEF scribe warned against sweeping the murder under the carpet because of the influence of the property owner.
Abdullahi said, “All the officers from the Nigerian Army and the DSS, who killed the ten men and left many others with devastating wounds must be arrested and openly tried to show the sincerity and transparency of the government to the rule of law, equity and justice.
“We in the Northern Elders’ Forum will like to see the full disclosure of the details of the owner of the controversial building and why they had to use soldiers and snipers to clear the building of squatters.
“We consider it most callous the infuriating claim, by the DSS spokeswoman that the men they killed that Friday were Boko Haram terrorists, who tried to stop them from digging for buried arms but they refused to display the recovered arms and the pit from where the guns were removed from the compound.
“If indeed, as the DSS has claimed, that the slain men were Boko Haram terrorists, they still needed to arrest them, get evidence from them and prosecute them in the court of law as enshrined in our law.
“To us, mere suspicion of innocent persons does not make them criminals to warrant outright execution. This is totally unacceptable to us. We suspect that those who carried out the extra-judicial killing of the ten men had a hidden motive, which must be equally punished by the government,” NEF insisted.
Apparently rattled by growing public outrage over the killing of the ten men, the Nigerian Army on Wednesday tried to distance itself from the action, saying that it was carried out by a sister security agency.
It also said it did not have anything to do with the owner of the building said to be related to a former Head of States.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-General Ibrahim Attahiru told one of our correspondents that the Army was neither aware that the house belonged to a former Head of States’ sister nor any of its officers.
“The Nigerian Army does not have anything to do with the house. Equally, the story about the house belonging to a Colonel is unfounded,” Attahiru explained.