Lawyer and rights advocate, Mr. Femi Falana, has given the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami, a seven-day ultimatum to make available certified true copies of reports of various investigations into killings across the country from 2011 till date. The reports are being requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA).
In a statement made available to SaharaReporters, Mr. Falana said the office of the AGF, based on pressures from the human rights community, has commenced the prosecution of the terror suspects arrested by security forces between 2011 and 2017. The lawyer noted that the human rights community is, however, dismayed that the other armed gangs that have killed thousands of Nigerians have not been prosecuted by the respective state governments, a situation that has emboldened them to commit more heinous atrocities.
“In order to end the official impunity and facilitate the trial of suspects involved in the illegal killings, I hereby request for the Certified True Copies of the reports of an investigation into the large-scale killings which took place in several states of the federation from 2011 to date,” demanded Mr. Falana.
He listed the killings, which he said amounted to crimes against humanity, as including the 2013 abduction and murder of 55 policemen and 10 officers of the Directorate for State Security (DSS) by the Ombatse cult group in Nasarawa State, murder of over 2, 000 people in herdsmen/farmers’ conflicts in Benue State between 2013 and 2016 and that of 800 Fulani people by a militia group in Mambilla, Taraba State, last September, an incident the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, claimed was unreported.
Also included was the 2016 killing of 204 people by gunmen in Southern Kaduna, December 2015 murder and secret burial of 347 Shiites by the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State; murder of 150 pro-Biafra agitators by security forces in the South East geo-political zone between 2013 to 2017 and that of 46 people by herdsmen in Enugu State in April 2016.
The lawyer equally listed the killing of over 2, 000 people by militia groups in Zamfara State from 2011-2018, 800 people in the post-election 2011 violence in 12 Northern states, of 50 people in the 2015 pre-election violence in Rivers State and of 3, 000 people by suspected herdsmen across Plateau State in 2017.
In Plateau State, for instance, there had been several reports issued by panels and commissions of inquiry that have not been implemented. Among these are reports produced by commissions/panels headed by the late Mr. Solomon Lar, a former governor of the state; General Emmanuel Abisoye (retd.) and the late Justice Niki Tobi. Similar reports were produced by the state and National Assembly, but their recommendations have not been implemented.
In May 2011, former President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a 22-member panel to investigate the causes and scale of the post-election violence of that year. Human Rights Watch quoted a Police spokesman as saying 500 people had been arrested for suspected involvement, but the authorities did not follow through with a prosecution.
“As this request is made under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, you are required to accede to our request within seven days of the receipt of this letter. However, if you fail or refuse to accede to this request, we shall proceed to institute mandamus proceedings, compelling you to furnish us with the needed information,” the lawyer stated.