The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) yesterday faulted the Senate for exonerating security agencies in the alleged extra-judicial killing of eight squatters, mostly petty traders and tricycle operators in an uncompleted building on Soji Aderemi Close, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, on September 20, 2013, saying the double standards in the report is condemnable.
The Senate Joint Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, had while submitting its report at plenary on Wednesday, said that the death of the aforementioned was not a case of extra-judicial killing but the outcome of hastily executed operation by operatives of the Department of Security Services (SSS) and Nigerian Army.
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Mohammed Magoro (PDP-Kebbi), also said it was discovered that the operation at Apo was necessitated by electronic intercepts by the SSS which indicated plans to attack the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on September 22.
But MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said it was worrisome for the Senate to declare that the eight people killed by security agents in Apo were not members of Boko Haram yet cleared the Nigerian security agencies of culpability in their deaths.
“We note with deep concern the obvious contradiction in the report. Whereas Senate admits that the victims were not members of Boko Haram, it went ahead to absolve the security agencies who carried out the dastardly act. We condemn these double standards. This type of thing should not be happening in a democracy. Life is sacred and security agencies have no right under the law to kill and maim at will. It is sheer manifestation of impunity.
“MURIC finds the testimonies in the minority reports more credible. We commend Senators Mohammed Sani Saleh (Kaduna Central) and Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa (Zamfara Central) for their courageous stand and their rejection of the report. The Senate has allowed religious sentiment to becloud its sense of judgement. Senate has failed the people of Nigeria.
“We therefore urge families and friends of the victims to seek redress in the courts. MURIC pledges to render necessary assistance in this regard until the culprits are brought to book. Nigerian security agencies must learn to respect constitutionalism, rule of law, equal rights, justice and fair play,” Akintola said.