By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, yesterday called for speedy trial of detained leader of the Shiite Islamic sect, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
The commission made the call after it released the report of a special panel it constituted to investigate the December 12, 2015, bloody clash between members of the sect, under the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The clash which resulted in the death of many members of the sect, with others seriously wounded, occurred after the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Yusuf Buratai, who was on his way from Dutse to pay homage on the Emir of Zazzau before proceeding to Depot NA Passing Out Parade of 73 Regular Recruit Intake, was denied passage by members of the Shi’ite sect.
The NHRC, in the voluminous report which head of the investigation panel, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, submitted to its Executive Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, yesterday, maintained that the leadership and members of the sect “were responsible for the abuse of right to freedom of movement of the convoy of the COAS and other members of the public by blocking the public highway on December 12, 2015.”
The rights body said its findings revealed that members of the sect had on the ill-fated day, turned out en mass and blocked the public highway with arms, “becoming riotous and constituting an obstruction on the road and placing stones and bonfire to prevent passage of the convoy of the COAS.”
According to the report, there is no evidence before the panel indicating that the action of the sect was pre-planned or premeditated.
“The panel found that the people killed during the incident were given mass burial without first establishing their identities or autopsy or medical report, indicating the cause of death,” the report said.