Brigadier General John Agim DDI
Brigadier General John Agim DDI

Shiite Protest: Military, Police Reject Amnesty International’s Report

The Defence Headquarters wishes to respond to Amnesty International (AI) reports in which the group alleged that the Nigerian military and the police engaged in horrific use of excessive force that led to the killing of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shi’ites during ‘peaceful’ protests. The worrisome narrative of the Amnesty International (AI) in matters of national security and cohesion of Nigeria has continued unabated in spite of verifiable evidences to the contrary. The Amnesty international’s hate and disdain for peaceful co-existence of Nigerians is manifested in the ways it consistently fabricates lies and gives negative narrative of issues related to Nigeria’s national security and its military. The AI report is not a true reflection of what transpired in the last few days.

For the sake of the good people of Nigeria and the international community who quest for the truth, what the AI “cooked up” in that report is a figment of its own imagination to further paint Nigeria black among the comity of nations. The military has never been sent to stop the protesting Shi’ites group at any given time. On the events referred to by the AI, the soldiers were not after the protesting Shi’ites, neither was there such number of casualties.Instead, a convoy from the Army Headquarters Garrison Abuja was conducting a routine shipment of ammunition and missiles to a military formation in Kaduna escorted by troops when they ran into the protesters at Zuba in FCT. The protesting Shi’ites prevented the convoy from proceeding on its mission but rather attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the shipment. Hence, the troops had to protect the goods and extricate themselves from the imminent mob action by applying minimum force.

The following day, the IMN also had another confrontation with the military at a popular checkpoint along Nyanya – Mararaba road leading into the FCT. Everyone living in or transiting the FCT knows that the military checkpoint had been established since 2014 after the Boko Haram Terrorist attack on Nyanya Motor Park. Unfortunately, the group tried to overrun the checkpoint in which the military resisted. In all these attacks, the IMN was the aggressor while the military only acted in self defence. The Shi’ites actions were planned and premeditated as the group were aware of the existence of the military checkpoint and were prepared to confront the soldiers. The casualty of IMN stands at 4 wounded and 3 dead at Zuba while at the Nyanya – Mararaba road checkpoint, 3 died with 3 wounded. The military also had 6 of its personnel seriously wounded and currently at intensive care.

The DHQ wishes to emphasize for the umpteenth time that the narratives of the AI are outright falsehoods and calculated attempts at whipping up sentiments and misleading unsuspecting Nigerians as well as demoralizing friendly nations. The organization has continued to churn out reports that are outside the confines of the principles of objectivity, truth and balance reportage which provides all sides to the story the way it happened. Sadly, AI’s past activities in Nigeria and its negative reportorial of the Nigerian Armed Forces is capable of emboldening the IMN in its unwholesome activities. Also, what AI is doing could stop friendly nations from collaborating with Nigeria in its war against insurgency. The intentions of AI in Nigeria have remained suspect as the organization is always silent on the other side of issues.

Nigerians who witnessed how military troops on legitimate duty came under unprovoked attacks from IMN members both in Zuba area of the FCT on Sunday, 28 October 2018 and at a security checkpoint in Mararaba, Nasarawa State on Monday, 29 October 2018 have videos and images of wounded soldiers and damaged military vehicles with audio commentaries. These are available in the public domain.

Unfortunately, Amnesty International did not see anything wrong with these unprovoked subversive attacks on Nigerian military and other innocent passersby but was quick to refer to the activitiesof IMN from whom dangerous weapons and ammunition including Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), guns, knives and cutlasses were recovered as a peaceful protest. This goes further to prove the point that Amnesty International does not mean well for Nigeria. This is also in tandem with their previous reputation of denigrating the security forces anytime they make gains against the forces of evil to incite the Nigerian public and international community against the Military.

The Defence Headquarters wishes to appeal to the general public and the international community not to be carried away with AI’s usual falsehood and blackmail which is calculated towards promoting the forces of darkness to destabilize Nigeria.

Brigadier General
Acting Director Defence Information

RE- Nigeria: Security forces must be held accountable for killing of at least 45 peaceful Shi’a protesters

· The Force rejects the Amnesty International report and allegation against the Police on use of deadly force against IMN members as untrue, absolute distortion and diversionary.

The attention of the Nigeria Police has been drawn to the Amnesty International Report published on 31st October, 2018, captioned “Nigeria: Security forces must be held accountable for killing of at least 45 peaceful Shi’a protesters”.

The Nigeria Police Force after a careful study the entire report and the allegation against the Police on paragraph 3 of the report “We have seen a shocking and unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police against IMN members. Video footage and eyewitness testimonies consistently show that the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gatherings by firing live ammunition without warning, in clear violation of Nigerian and international law,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria”

The Nigeria Police Force wishes to state categorically that the allegation against the Police by the Amnesty International as stated in paragraph 3 quoted above is in its entirety untrue, misleading, a clear misrepresentation and absolute distortion of facts to divert attention from the heinous crimes committed by the El-Zazakky Group, which includeunprovoked attack on Police personnel and the setting ablaze of Police vehicle in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on 30thOctober, 2018 and disturbance of public peace and public safety in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on the said date.

To set the record straight, there was no report of death in any Police Station in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja from the Police intervention and quelling of the disturbance of public peace and public safety, and unrest created by the El-Zazakky group in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on the 30th of October, 2018.

The Force despite the height of provocation from the El-Zazakky group and the setting ablaze of a Police patrol vehicle resist the use of maximum force on the group but effected the arrest of Four Hundred (400) members of the group for disturbance of public peace, disruption of law and order in the Federal Capital Territory and setting ablaze of Police patrol vehicle. Some of the members of the El-Zazakky groups were also arrested with Thirty One (31) bottles of petrol bombs, other dangerous weapons and illicit drugs. All those arrested are being prosecuted in accordance with the law.

The Force sees the Amnesty International allegation against the Police as deliberate and desperate attempt to cast aspersions on the investigation and ongoing prosecution of the arrested members of the El-Zazakky Group to pervert the end of justice.

The Nigeria Police Force will not be deterred from carrying its statutory duties nor condone lawlessness, disturbance of public peace and public safety by any group(s) under any guise that runs contrary to the constitutional provisions and other enabling laws on preservation of law and order and protection of lives and property of all Nigerians.

The general public are hereby implored to disregard and discountenance the allegation by Amnesty International that the Police used deadly force against IMN members as untrue, diversionary and distortion of fact.

For avoidance of doubt, the Force has continuously in the last two (2) years contained several violent protests by the El-Zazakky group using minimum force within the Federal Capital Territory and in the process, some Police personnel sustained various degree of injuries and some police vehicles damaged while preventing the El-Zazakky group from causing breakdown of law and order in the FCT. Some Police officers were killed in Kaduna and Kano States by the El-Zazakky group within the same period. Aftermath of these violent protests, the Police have always charged the arrested members of the El-Zazakky group to Court. This can be verified by the Amnesty International and the general public.

The Force will continue to operate within the ambit of the law and ensure the diligent prosecution of the arrested members of the El-Zazakky group on the 30th October, 2018 for acts and offences prohibited under the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.



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