Nigeria: End Repression of Shia Group - African Business Magazine
Close
Nigeria: End Repression of Shia Group

Nigeria: End Repression of Shia Group

Nigerian authorities should end their violent repression of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a minority Shia group, that began with a three-day lethal crackdown on December 12-14, 2015, and free its leader, Human Rights Watch said today.
 

Sheik Ibraheem El Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, and his wife, Zeenatudeen, have been detained without trial for a year. On December 12, 2015, the Nigeria army used disproportionate force against the group’s street procession in Zaria, Kaduna State in northwestern Nigeria to clear a route for the army chief’s convoy. In an ensuing three-day violent crackdown, the army killed 347 members of the group and injured and arrested scores more. The violence against the group continued in a series of episodes in October and November 2016.

“The involvement of soldiers in the Zaria incidents, and subsequent police actions against the Islamic Movement raises major questions about Nigeria’s commitment to military reform,” said Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Kaduna state government’s continued repression of the group without holding the attackers responsible turns justice on its head.”

Nigerian authorities should hold accountable anyone who has committed crimes against Islamic Movement members, and take immediate steps to comply with a federal court order mandating the release of Sheik El Zakzaky and his wife, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch reported in December 2015 that the killings were unjustified and called for an independent and impartial investigation into the carnage.

A judicial commission of inquiry, appointed to investigate the events, found that the army used “excessive force” against protesters and was responsible for the deaths and mass burial of the 347 members of the group. It recommended the prosecution of soldiers involved in the killings. The commission also recommended holding Islamic Movement members responsible for their “acts of habitual lawlessness,” and said that El Zakzaky bore responsibility for failing to call his followers to order when requested to do so.

In a White Paper responding to the report released on December 5, 2016, the Kaduna State government unilaterally declared the Islamic Movement to be an insurgent group against which the army was justified in using lethal force. Contrary to the commission’s findings, the state government stated that soldiers who shot at protesters, laid siege to religious sites belonging to the group, killed 347 members and buried them in unmarked mass graves, acted according to the army’s rules of operation.

The Kaduna State government is seeking the death penalty against 50 members of the group who are facing trial for the death of the only military casualty in the episode, Corporal Dan Kaduna Yakubu. But it has essentially exempted the army from any responsibility for the killings of the Islamic Movement members, and no-one has been held responsible for the deaths.

On October 7, the state government banned the Islamic Movement, citing the commission of inquiry’s finding that the group was unregistered. The move appears to have triggered a wave of police and mob violence against the group’s members participating in its annual religious processions, and the destruction of their properties in Kaduna as well as neighboring Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Plateau, and Sokoto States, where the police followed the Kaduna example of banning activities of the group. Media reports allege that at least 12 people died in the violence in October, and more than 10 more were killed in subsequent clashes in November.

A federal high court ruled on December 2 that the continued detention without trial of El Zakzaky and his wife by the State Security Services, “amounted to a gross violation of the constitution and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.” The court ordered the government to release the couple within 45 days, pay them approximately US$170 million in damages, and provide them with a secure residence in view of the December 2015 destruction of their home. The federal government, in whose custody El Zakzaky and his wife have been detained, has not indicated whether it will comply with the court’s decision.

Hundreds of the group’s members have remained in prison since the Zaria incident and subsequent arrests during religious processions and protest marches to demand their leaders’ release, the group says. A few detainees, mostly women and children, were released but most others have been arraigned in courts in Kaduna, Kano, and Jos for offenses including disturbing public peace, incitement, unlawful assembly, and homicide.

The pattern of violent repressive conduct against the group may violate Nigeria’s constitution, which guarantees the rights to life; personal liberty; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; peaceful assembly and association; and freedom of movement. Nigeria may also be in breach of its obligations under African regional and international human rights law to protect these rights.

“Nigeria’s federal and state authorities should reconsider the heavy-handed crackdown against IMN members, take urgent steps to protect them, and hold those responsible for the unlawful deaths of group members to account,” Segun said. “The government should carry out its law enforcement responsibilities without jeopardizing its own credibility by ignoring court decisions that rightly seek to check its agents’ excesses.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Media files
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Download logo

Rate this article

Author Thumbnail
Written by African Business Magazine

African Business and its award-winning team is widely respected for its editorial excellence. We provide the all important tools enabling you to maintain a critical edge in a continent that is changing the world. Our special reports profile a wide range of sectors and industries including Energy, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Agriculture to name but a few.

Related Posts

  • U.S. Condemns Terror Attack in Al-Arish

    The U.S. Embassy condemns the attack in Al-Arish today that killed several Egyptian police officers and wounded many others, including civilians. These officers gave their lives in the line of duty helping protect their fellow citizens. We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wish the wounded a speedy recovery. The Embassy stands with Egypt and the Egyptian people as they build a stable, secure, and prosperous country for all citizens.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.

    Media files
    U.S. Embassy - Cairo
    Download logo

  • A world-class wheelchair basketball coach to train the team of South Sudan

    At the invitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jess Markt, a wheelchair basketball coach for people with disabilities is coming from the United States, and will arrive in Juba on January 10, 2017 to coach players, train coaches, classifiers and referees from Juba and Yirol.  
     

    Jess began playing wheelchair basketball at the age of 19 after suffering a spinal cord injury. He has been coaching wheelchair basketball since 2009, and has trained teams in Afghanistan, India, Palestine, Cambodia and in his home state of Colorado.

    “We are excited that Jess will coach the South Sudan team. They are very motivated and we hope that this training will enable them to participate in international competitions in future” says Venkatakannan Packirisamy, ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Project manager in South Sudan.

    In South Sudan the ICRC supports three physical rehabilitation centers that provide mobility devices and therapy. Together with the South Sudan Wheelchair Basketball Association (SSWBA) it organizes weekly wheelchair basketball games to promote social inclusion for people with disabilities. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Media files
    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
    Download logo

  • Finalists for the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017 announced

    Six African SMEs have been nominated as finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017, supported by the Rabobank Foundation. Out of the 51 projects from around the continent and following a few rounds of selection, the jury has selected these innovative projects from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania for their social, economic and ecological impact, and their potential for growth and job creation nationally and regionally. The winner will be announced during the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) 2017 (http://APO.af/y28Bux), which will be held in Nairobi from 13-16 February. 

    Official Finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017:

    • Aybar Engineering (Ethiopia) – The company has developed the “Aybar BBM”, a technology that prevents excess water from suffocating crops and stores it for later use. There is no other similar technology in the market.  
    • R n G Company limited (Kenya) – The company sells packaged Rhizo-fix (groundnut inoculum), a biofertilizer that ensures a more efficient groundnut production. It also collects the groundnuts from local farmers to produce affordable cooking oil.
    • EuroFresh Exotics (Kenya) – The company produces and exports fresh fruits and vegetables using innovative farming techniques. They also organise capacity building trainings for smallholder farmers.
    • First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics (Nigeria) – This company has developed the “Zenvus”, an intelligent solution to collect soil data using a system of electronic sensors. Its mission is improve farming productivity.
    • Kimolo Super rice (Tanzania) – The company is specialized in processing and marketing branded rice and sunflower oil. The project is environmentally friendly since smallholder farmers produce paddy using water run-off from nearby hills.
    • Eco Act (Tanzania) – The company was established to address the challenges of urban waste management, plastic pollution, deforestation and climate change. They recycle and transform post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber.

    The AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 aims to provide African-based innovative SMEs with support to grow their businesses. The six finalists will receive a free accreditation to join the AFIF 2017 full programme (http://APO.af/JM5nx8) (conferences, trainings, B2B meetings and networking opportunities). The award winner will receive cash prize and one year of national and international media promotion.

    “We are delighted to announce the finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 after a really difficult selection process. The innovation and creativity of African-based SMEs makes our job more difficult every year. We look forward to welcoming these and many more entrepreneurs at the AFIF 2017 in Nairobi” says Inês Bastos, EMRC (www.EMRC.be) Senior Project Manager.

    “I am now internationally known,” says Lazaro Mwakipesile (Raphael Group, Tanzania), winner of the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2015. He adds: “I have travelled abroad four times this year to present our company. I expect to travel to the United States soon for a meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”.

    The new edition of the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) will be held for the first time in the vibrant city of Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the Strathmore University. In line with growing international trends, the AFIF will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and access to finance in key sectors such as energy, water, ICT, health and agriculture. Delegates (SMEs managers, investors, entrepreneurs…) will come from across the world to participate in the AFIF 2017.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of EMRC.

    For further information about the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017, visual material or interviews, please contact: 
    Aretha Francis 
    Media and Communications Manager
    AF@EMRC.be  
    +32 2 626 1510

    Press Accreditation AFIF 2017:
    If you wish to cover the Africa Finance and Investment Forum 2017 (13-16 February 2017, Nairobi), please send the request to AF@EMRC.be indicating Name, Country and Media Outlet by 23 January.

    Social Media – Follow us on: 
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/_EMRC_ 
    Facebook: www.Facebook.com/EMRC.International  
    LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/company/emrc   

    About EMRC:
    Established in 1992 in Brussels, EMRC (www.EMRC.be) is a non-governmental organisation composed of a network of entrepreneurs, financiers, consultants and officials based throughout the world. EMRC’s mission is to lead the private sector in Africa to sustainable economic development and to drive regional change via partnerships. 

    About AFIF:
    The Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) (http://APO.af/y28Bux) is an annual business event organized in the framework of EMRC International’s activities, aimed at strengthening the private sector in Africa, encouraging entrepreneurship and attracting investment to the African continent. AFIF has a double objective: to strengthen the financial capacities of Africa’s private sector and to promote the creation of new partnerships through the encouragement of joint projects and trade relations North-South & South-South.

    Media files
    EMRC
    Download logo

  • USAID Support to ISTEP Program Gets People with Disabilities into the Workplace

    Over the past three years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) Association to help hundreds of people with disabilities to prepare for and enter the workforce. The Inclusive Training and Employment Program for and by persons with disabilities, also known as ISTEP, was designed to bolster Ethiopia’s efforts to support disability inclusive development.

    Because the inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce is a relatively new concept in Ethiopia, ISTEP addressed the challenges faced by both the prospective employees and potential employers. To better prepare prospective employees with disabilities, ISTEP worked with 21 mainstream Technical Vocational Education and Training institutes (TVETs) and universities to improve their institutional capacity to provide skills development training for people with disabilities and trained approximately 750 instructors and support staff. Several of these institutions are now making campuses more accessible to people with disabilities. With support from ISTEP, nearly 300 people with disabilities were enrolled in TVETs and received skills training in areas including food preparation, making leather products, construction and metal works. ECDD also helped job seekers with disabilities to be stronger job candidates by helping them to prepare resumes and get ready for interviews.

    ISTEP also worked with the City Administrations in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, as well as the regional administrations in Tigray and SNNPR to create a more enabling environment for self and formal employment of people with disabilities. The program then worked with more than 70 companies to encourage them to take on people with disabilities for internships and paid positions and to train their human resources staff on best practices for integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces. So far, 88 TVET and university graduates with disabilities have secured formal jobs with employers like the Mosaic Hotel and Kedir Yasin Metal Work PLC, while another 168 have received valuable hands-on experience through internship placements in private and public sector workplaces. In addition, 93 TVET graduates with disabilities received support to start their own individual or joint businesses.

    “Before I began work, people did not want to even shake my hand, as if my blindness would pass on to them. But the situation changed after I got employed – there was a complete change of attitude. I feel my pride restored and feel respect in the community because of what I have achieved.’’ Lukas Zida, Counselor at Otana High School in Wolayta Sodo and an ISTEP beneficiary.

    Companies or organizations interested in partnering with ECDD can contact Mr. Retta Getachew, the Executive Director of ECDD at: ECDD, P.O Box, 1530 Code 1250, Addis Ababa, Tel: +251-11-4700014. Email: info@ecdd-ethiopia.org, Retta-G@ecdd-ethiopia.org.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Media files
    U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Download logo

  • Latest News portal telling Africa’s story launches in Accra, Ghana

    A new pan-African news portal www.AfricaFeeds.com has been launched in Accra, Ghana.

    The portal will provide readers in Africa and beyond the latest and relevant news about Africa and the world in general.

    Readers of the site get at first hand, content on latest breaking news about Africa in all areas including entertainment, business and sports, with special focus on all the sub-regions on the continent.

    Founder and CEO of Africa Feeds Media, owners of the news portal, Isaac Kaledzi said the desire to tell the story of Africa the best way, motivated the establishment of the portal.

    He said in Accra that “I believe the story of Africa must be told and told better than we do currently. The African story must be told, not just the unfortunate happenings of war and hunger but the struggles and efforts by ordinary individuals to make this Continent great and that is exactly what we want to do with this news portal”.

    “African journalists work hard under challenging conditions and deserve an independent platform to share what they see and observe with the rest of the world in an unbiased and fair manner” Mr. Kaledzi added.

    Readers can access the portal via their mobile phones, tablets and desktops with 24/7 news services. An Africa feeds TV Channel is to be launched in the coming months to provide a 24/7 news TV content to Africans and the rest of the world at large.

    Mr. Kaledzi said “This is a huge project but we are confident that this is the way to go, we must provide a platform that enables the African to tell his or her own story and also for the African to know what is happening on his or her continent from the African perspective without perceived foreign influence”.

    AfricaFeeds(dot)com, a subsidiary of the Africa Feeds Media group is funded through commercial revenues and officially started operations on November 3, 2016.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Africa Feeds.

    Media files
    Africa Feeds
    Download logo

  • Infertility is Not a Stigma: Merck More than a Mother championed by Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari continues its quest to empower more infertile women; this time in Nigeria

    Merck More than a Mother campaign launched in Nigeria was championed by the country’s first lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari. The launch held in Abuja, Nigeria is in partnership with Senate Commission on Health; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and Future Assured organization.

    Merck More than a Mother continues its commitment to break stigma around infertility and empower infertile women by improving access to information, education, healthcare and change of culture and mind-set to de-stigmatize infertility.

    Her Excellency Mrs. Buhari pledged her support and the support of Nigerian Governors’ wives in the implementation of Merck More than a Mother’s activities in Nigeria focusing on eliminating infertility stigma and creating awareness and providing information and education on causes of infertility; facilitating access to healthcare; and economic and social empowerment of infertile women.

    The Nigerian women leaders also supported the empowering of infertile women who form a vulnerable part of the population. Infertile women in Nigeria and many other African countries who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through Empowering Berna initiative. Empowering Berna is part of Merck More than a Mother campaign.

    Helen Phillip, a Nigerian woman from the North shared her story of suffering from infertility stigma and expressed her gratitude to the support Merck more than a Mother provided her through establishing new business so that she can become an independent productive member in her community.

    Watch Nigeria’s infertile women sharing their stories of social suffering of infertility stigma and their transformation after the economic and social empowerment provided by Merck more than a Mother through Empowering Berna project:

    “In Nigeria we have been advocating for the end of harmful traditional practices including the stigmatization of women which is prevalent all over the country. Women have not been coming out openly because they are traumatized. With this campaign we will encourage them to speak out and we pledge our support and collaboration,” said Hon. Aisha Alhassan, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development. 

    Merck More than a Mother campaign is a great initiative to break the stigma around infertility and to empower an unprivileged category of women in Africa, women who suffer infertility. Infertile women have been neglected, mistreated and discriminated because they cannot bear a child, yet 50% of infertility is due to male factors. We can together improve access to education, information, awareness, health care and change of mind-set and culture to stop these women’s suffering,” said Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

    Prof. Isaac Adewole Hon. Minister of Health emphasized: “We are responsible for policy at the Ministry level and this is where we can make a difference in improving access to fertility care in Nigeria. We will work through training institutions we are responsible for to strengthen fertility management by making it a sub-specialty. We will also as a Ministry work with private sector, the Senate and the National Assembly to improve governance and quality of care to provide standards to protect infertile men and women seeking treatment.”

    Merck More than a Mother was first implemented in Kenya in 2015 followed by Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

    To read more about Merck More than a Mother, visit www.MerckMoreThanAMother.com and www.Merck-CAP.com

    Distributed by APO on behalf of For Africa Forever.

    Media Contact:
    Lucy Kaaya
    Chief Editor 
    ForAfricaForever@gmail.com

    About the stigma of infertility in Africa:
    Jackeline Mwende, the recent victim of Infertility stigma tells us her story of suffering of Iterrible violence by her husband. Merck more than a Mother committed to work hard to ensure that no other woman would suffer the same way Jackeline did. Watch her story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niMNO-jz0yA&t=37s).

    Media files
    For Africa Forever
    Download logo

    Multimedia content

Join our mailing list

If you would like Independent, Informative and Invaluable news analysis on the African continent, delivered straight to your inbox, join our mailing list.

Help us deliver better content