The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), under the leadership of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has written a petition to the government of the United States of America (USA), urging it not to sell weapons or any military hardware to Nigeria.
The letter, which was dated August 17, 2017 and signed by the head of the Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdulrahaman Abubakar, was made available to the Saturday Tribune in Kaduna on Friday.
The letter cited the appalling human rights record of the Nigerian military as the reason for the “vehement objection to the proposed sale of weapons and military hardware to the government of Nigeria.”
The petition further pointed out that “the military’s human rights record in Nigeria is utterly dismal while the Nigerian government’s commitment to the rule of law is low.”
IMN drew the attention of the US government to incessant refusal of the government to acknowledge excesses of the military in handling civilian matters, while it tries to justify them.
The Movement cited examples of the murder of 34 unarmed civilians in Zaria, Kaduna State, in 2014, including the children of Sheikh Zakzaky, which the government did nothing about. These soldiers made a return in December, 2015, killing over a thousand innocent citizens.
The initial response of the government to such a disregard for human lives was to that it was a “military affair.”
IMN pointed out that ‘there is usually no properly conducted inquiries, prosecutions, remorse or public apologies after such acts by the military.
Besides shirking its duties to hold its soldiers to account, the IMN said the government captured its leader and his wife after shooting them at pointblank range, treated them in the most humiliating and denigrating manner before hauling them into incommunicado detention without charges for twenty months.
“Even after a Nigerian high court had ruled that the detention is unconstitutional and ordered their release, the government has continued to contemptuously defy the order.”
The letter therefore called for a complete arms embargo to be placed on the Nigerian military. It also wanted the embargo to be extended to travel bans and other embargoes for senior military and political leaders “until a genuine commitment to the principles of rule of law, justice, fair play and human rights can be demonstrated beyond rhetoric and halfhearted measures by the government.