A call has again been made for massive action in form of massive letter writing campaign to the Commonwealth Secretariat to raise concern about the latter’s inaction over the Zaria massacre of 2015 and the continued detention of Sheikh Zakzaky, and demand immediate action in that regard.
Individuals, groups and Rights bodies are urged to write letters (model letter provided below) to the the Commonwealth Secretary General directly through post or using their Contact Us page by clicking here.
Model email / letter
Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC
10 March 2018
Dear Baroness Scotland QC,
I am writing to express my deep concern about the continued violations of the human rights of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and to raise my concerns about inaction of the Commonwealth in seeking to end these violations by the Nigerian government. Since the Zaria Massacre and the imprisonment of IMN’s leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky in December 2015 the situation has progressively deteriorated for the movement and its supporters.
I am sure you are aware of the International Criminal Court’s Report on Preliminary Examination Activities (2017). In this report the ICC stated they had made a preliminary determination and would seek further clarification of the events from the Nigerian government. This is a clear indication that the ICC believe the massacre may be a crime against humanity.
We understand the Commonwealth is monitoring the situation but this matter has now dragged on for over two years and requires urgent action over and above just monitoring the situation, especially as innocent lives are at risk. Hundreds were arrested following the massacre and remain in prison despite no conviction. Many of those who were present and wounded are still awaiting treatment for injuries as they are being denied access to medical treatment. Nigerian authorities are regularly attacking IMN members and in recent Free Zakzaky protests over the last two months they have arrested, tortured, and killed many of the peaceful protesters, including senior movement leader Sheikh Qaseem Umar, who was shot by Nigerian police while peacefully protesting the illegal detention of Sheikh Zakzaky.
Sheikh Zakzaky was arrested by Nigerian military on 14 December 2015 and has been held since, contrary to a clear court order to set him free. Since his arrest, Sheikh Zakzaky has lost his sight in one eye and the use of one arm. Sheikh Zakzaky also suffered a stroke in January 2018 which has further aggravated his dire condition. His condition requires specialist medical attention, and may need him to travel abroad to get treatment.
Due to the seriousness and urgency of the situation I demand that the Commonwealth Secretariat takes the following action:
- Suspend Nigeria’s membership of the Commonwealth for the violence perpetrated by its army against the IMN;
- Send a representative to Nigeria to see Sheikh Zakzaky, his family and other detainees to assess their situation;
- Demand the release of those held after mass arrests or being handed over to civilian police authorities;
- Demand the Nigerian government provide proper and immediate medical attention to all detainees and that all are released;
- Call for an independent investigation, under the auspices of an international body like the UN, into the violence and mass graves. The bodies of those in the mass graves need to be exhumed, identified and returned to their families. The Nigerian government and army needs to be held accountable for these crimes.
I look forward to hearing from you
Your name (and signature if writing via post).