The Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, has described last Friday’s killing of ten artisans suspected by security operatives to be terrorists, as nothing but a premeditated murder of innocent poverty-stricken Nigerians.
In the first reaction of the group to the killings, Secretary General of NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, said that the Department of State Security Service and all those involved in the shooting and killing of the artisans had committed murder and must be urgently brought to trial to account for the souls.
Abdullahi, while speaking with Saturday Vanguard in Abuja, pointed out that the Federal Government must not allow the culprits to go unpunished for the callous act so as not to set a dangerous precedence for other trigger-happy agents of the administration.
The former Ahmadu Bello University Vice Chancellor therefore called for the probe of the relationship between the house owner and the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Security Service, warning against sweeping the murder under the carpet because of the influence of the property owner.
“All the officers from the Nigerian Army and the DSS, who killed the ten men and left many others with devastating wounds must be arrested and openly tried to show the sincerity and transparency of the government to the rule of law, equity and justice.
“We in the Northern Elders’ Forum will like to see the full disclosure of the details of the owner of the controversial building and why they had to use soldiers and snipers to clear the building of squatters.
“We consider it most callous the infuriating claim, by the DSS spokeswoman that the men they killed that Friday were Boko Haram terrorists, who tried to stop them from digging for buried arms but they refused to display the recovered arms and the pit from where the guns were removed from the compound.
“If indeed, as the DSS has claimed, that the slain men were Boko Haram terrorists, they still needed to arrest them, get evidence from them and prosecute them in the court of law as enshrined in our law.
“To us, mere suspicion of innocent persons does not make them criminals to warrant outright execution. This is totally unacceptable to us. We suspect that those who carried out the extra-judicial killing of the ten men had a hidden motive, which must be equally punished by the government,” NEF insisted.