“Undoubtedly, you are most certainly a peaceful people.” This was the testimony of Mrs Orti Ovrawa, the acting Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) who came to receive and address the mammoth crowd from the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) that turned up at the Commission yesterday to protest on the occasion of the second year since the Zaria massacre.
Mrs Ovrawa is impressed with the orderly and peaceful nature the members of the Movement have been conducting their affairs in the pursuit of justice in the matter. She added that, “You have always conducted your activities peacefully. Even today, you still remain peaceful. Please I enjoin you to remain peaceful,” in seeking redress and finding justice in this matter.
The Islamic Movement had led a large procession to the Commission as part of the activities to commemorate the second year of the massacre in Zaria between 12th and 14th December, 2015 in which Nigerian army carried out a premeditated murder of over a thousand innocent and unarmed citizens, and secretly buried in mass graves. Thereafter, the government had embarked on a massive coverup campaign and desperate moves to suppress members of the Movement through forceful means. The government also arrested and detained hundreds including the leader of the Movement and his wife, even as a Federal High Court judgement a year ago had ruled that their detention is unconstitutional and a violation of their rights, and consequently ordered their immediate release.
Initially on arrival, the officials of the NHRC were not at hand to receive the letter of complaint, which necessitated members of the Movement to sit-in for several hours within and around the NHRC compound until Mrs Ovrawa surfaced to receive the letter, cheering the peaceful disposition of the IMN members.