Without any doubt, there is no justification for the cold-blooded murder of members of the Shiite sect of the Zackzacky group, by the Nigerian military. The excuses that we have been fed with so far, is that the sect obstructed the convoy of the chief of army staff, in a location in Zaria. What the chief of army staff was doing in Zaria at that particular time, we have not been told.

Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, grants every Nigerian citizen an unconditional right to freedom of expression, while section 40 grants freedom of association. Thus, Zackzaky and his members, were well within their constitutional rights, to hold a peaceful procession. Since coming into office in May, 2015, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari has instigated and received several processions of sycophants, in his office in Aso Rock, in the usual fashion of chorus singing and solidarity visits and nobody has ever disturbed them.

The relevant law applicable in the Zaria region is the Penal Code and if any member of the Zackzaky sect has breached any portion of that law, he or she should be dealt with according to law, not to be treated as animals or captured slaves, or be subjected to martial law. In this regard, it is totally barbaric and illegal, for the chief of army staff, to mobilize soldiers to invade a civilian territory, kill citizens at will, as if they are animals and then proceed to demolish their houses. In many of the photographs and videos circulating in the social media, Zakzaky himself was shown as having been shot and wounded and then conveyed in a wheelbarrow, by soldiers, thoroughly dehumanized and traumatized, as if he was captured in the course of a war. This is totally unacceptable.

I urge the International Criminal Court to intervene and charge Buratai for crime against humanity. The Buhari administration must stand up to the challenge of defending the Constitution and the lives of every citizen. Thus, every day that Buratai spends in office after the Zaria killings, is an affront to the people of Nigeria. I urge the President as a matter of urgency to quickly relieve Buratai of his position, as his conduct in this case has portrayed him as being totally unfit to occupy any public position of responsibility.

Furthermore, there has been too much military interventions in civilian affairs all over the land lately. In Enugu just yesterday, a group of soldiers opened fire on citizens that were celebrating the release of Nnamdi Kanu. Several other examples abound all over the land. Whereas we laud and appreciate the sacrifices of the military in combating terrorism, especially in the North-East, that should not be a licence for their uncensored brutality, over the same people that they are being paid to protect.

Above all, we demand to see Zackzaky in public, to determine the extent of his injury, to confirm that he is still alive and to be given the opportunity of stating his own side of the story, other than the ones that we have been fed with by the military.

Thank you.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Esq.

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