Presidential Investigative Panel sits in Kaduna from Monday

The Presidential Investigative Panel set up by the then acting President, Yomi Osinbajo to investigate cases of human rights abuses by the Military will begin public sittings from Monday, October 16 for a period of one week.

The Free Zakzaky Campaign Team announced the submission of Memo to the Panel sometime back following a rare opportunity granted the head of the Legal Team of the Movement, Barr Femi Falana, SAN to meet with Sheikh Zakzaky for further briefs. The legal team has largely been denied access to the Sheikh by the Department of State Security (DSS) who have held the Sheikh and his wife virtually incommunicado for almost two years now since the brutal massacre carried out in Zaria by the Nigerian military.

The crimes of the military against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria dates back to time immemorial, but the most recent occurrences include the brutal attack of July, 2014 in which four of the male children of Sheikh Zakzaky were specifically identified, targeted and shot at, killing three of them along with 31 other members of the Movement, and maiming hundreds. A more horrendous attack by the Military who were not yet done was the Zaria genocide of December, 2015 when the bestiality of the Military was best displayed. That December 2015 attack in multiple sites belonging to the Movement was not mere human rights abuses but indeed crimes against humanity, for which the International Criminal Court at The Hague has since opened a preliminary investigation. These involved horrendous mass murder of over a thousand unarmed civilians, including a further killing of three other sons of the Sheikh within a few hours, arson, looting, rape, hate speeches and campaigns, genital mutilation with aim of limiting reproduction within the group, mass graves, wrongful detention and enforced disappearances.

Although the Islamic Movement submitted a Memo to the Presidential Investigation Panel, there has not been any official communication as to when in the timetable of the Panel’s sittings they will be calling on the Movement to present its witnesses and evidence to back up the Memo submitted. Nevertheless, as the largest single group of victims of Nigerian Military’s most brutal and flagrant abuses of Human rights in the country, the Islamic Movement has all it takes to nail the planners and executors of the mass killings and is ever ready to prove the case of genocide against the military.

Doubts of the ability and willingness of the Presidential Panel to do justice in the matter as a whole lingers on. The Islamic Movement had pointed out its concerns about the purpose and composition of the Presidential Panel through a letter sent to the acting President and published in paid advertisements. Other areas of concern expressed by IMN in that open letter included the possible exclusion of those being detained who may not be allowed to make their own submission and the traditional recalcitrant attitude and lack of cooperation of the military in previous attempts at investigating these crimes.

All eyes are on the Presidential Panel, to see how it carries out this assignment devoid of bias and prejudice.

The Free Zakzaky Campaign team will keep you informed on developments as they unfold.

© #FreeZakzaky Campaign Committee, October 2017