The United States on Tuesday again accused the Muhammadu Buhari led government of Nigeria of human rights abuses and violation of rule of law, noting specifically that there was no record that the Nigerian or military authorities had demanded accountability from the soldiers implicated in the December 2015 clash between the Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The US stated this in the International Religious Freedom Report for 2017 released by the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.
The report also noted that the Nigerian government continued to hold El-Zakzaky and restrict the free movement and association of his followers.
It read, “Human rights groups continued to report the Federal Government often failed to prevent, quell, or respond to violence affecting religious groups, particularly in the North Eastern and central regions of the country.
“In November, Kano State police fired tear gas and bullets, killing three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria during its annual Ashura procession.
In another part of the report, it stated;
“During 2016, the Nigerian government at the federal and state levels continued to repress the IMN. The confrontation started in December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State, when the Nigerian Army killed 347 IMN members, arrested almost 200 others, including IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and destroyed the IMN’s spiritual headquarters after the group blocked the procession of the Nigerian Army’s chief of staff. Since this incident, the Nigerian government has detained Zakzaky without charge. A federal court ruled on December 2, 2016, that Zakzaky should be released within 45 days.”
The US also raised concerns that soldiers implicated in the December 2015 clash between the army and IMN members had not been brought to book.
“There were no reports of accountability for soldiers implicated in the December 2015 clash between the army and IMN members that, according to a Kaduna State Government report and reports from non-government observers, left at least 348 IMN members and one soldier dead, with IMN members buried in a mass grave.”
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