President Muhammadu Buhari is “studying the details” of the report on the judicial inquiry into the Zaria Massacre, according to a statement. According to Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Buhari “assures international and local human rights groups of appropriate response over the report” into the massacre of Shiite Muslim civilians.
It will be recalled that the Zaria Massacre was a three day pogrom by the military of unarmed Shiite Muslims in December 2015. The Shiite Muslims, affiliated with the peaceful group the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, and led by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, were protesting and blocking streets in Zaria, Kaduna State when a military convoy with the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai arrived.
According to unsubstantiated statements by the military the protesters allegedly tried to assassinate Mr. Buratai prompting the military to open fire on the unarmed civilians. This set in motion a three-day massacre resulting in the military stacking dead bodies of civilians in the streets and dumping them into a mass grave. The military also raided the personal properties of Sheikh Zakzaky and Shiite religious sites destroying or burning them down.
The military also killed all but one of Shiekh Zakzaky’s sons, shot his wife, and popped one of his eyes out. Shiekh Zakzaky has been in custody of the military since the December 2015 incident causing outrage among his Shiite followers.
According to Mr. Shehu’s statement on behalf of Mr. Buhari, the president will “announce appropriate response in due course.” He also stated that human rights remain “a cardinal component of democratic order.”
The report, which has said to be top secret, criticized some military officials involved in the massacre but did not mention Mr. Buratai as being responsible for the vicious three day assault on civilians.
Mr. Shehu's statement did not mention whether Sheikh Zakzaky would be released or why he is being held without charge.