The National Commercial Tricycle And Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (NATCOMORAS) on Thursday gave the federal government 72 hours within which to pay N500 million compensation for the September 20, 2013 murder of eight of its members, who security agents said they suspected to be members of the outlawed Islamist sect Boko Haram.
The NATCOMORAS members were killed when security agents stormed an uncompleted building at Apo Legislature Quarters, in Abuja.
Spokesman of the association Yusuf Buba, stated this at a public hearing and investigative process being conducted by the National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) in Abuja into the September 20 killings of NATCOMORAS members in Abuja.
The public hearing was chaired by the chairman of the NHRC governing board, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu and was assisted by the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe.
Those present at the hearing included the representatives of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the National Security Adviser (NSA), Chief of Defence Staff, Defence Headquarters, SSS, the lawyer to the owner of the property where the victims were killed and a nongovernmental organization (NGO), Global Rights.
The association, while rejecting any cover up of the crime against its members, demanded a public declaration that the victims of the killing were innocent and the unconditional release of its members who are still being held by security agents.
The association is further demanding the exposure of those responsible for the extra-judicial killings or its 100,000 members in Abuja and 10,000,000 members nationwide will embark on a national protest.
It would be recalled that the NHRC had summoned the relevant security organisations to appear before it at the public hearing.
The association said some of its members that were released by the SSS were asked to go back to their state of origin and never to talk to the press.
It said the security agents raided the residence of its members and left eight people dead and eleven others wounded, adding that two months after the incident, there was no report indicting any of the security agents.
Buba said when he was informed of the incident at about 5a.m. September 20 this year, he quickly went there and that on getting to the scene there were seven corpses lying in blood.
One of the residents, Gambo Idris, who testified in Hausa language, said that he had been living in the premises for over past two years and had to leave on the day of the incident after his colleagues were killed.
He said each person that lived there paid N200 to the gate man per night. He, however, denied ever seeing any of his colleagues with gun or knife.
He disclosed that people sleeping there included mechanics, taxi drivers, shoe makers and members of NATCOMORAS.
“There was no weapon on the premises. When the soldiers came and search, they found nothing.
“The shooting was done by men in black who were wearing mask, when we came outside we found army vehicle after the corpses had been removed,” he said.
Dr. Abubakar Ahmed, medical director, Asokoro Hospital also testified that there was commotion at the hospital as the two vehicles that brought the corpses were surrounded by relatives and people who insisted that any attempt to get the corpses into the mortuary would be met with consequences.
“The situation became threatening and we had to report the case to the Asokoro Police Station,” Ahmed said. [Thisday]