Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, has called for the prosecution of police officers who allegedly killed a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) during a protest on Monday.
The Shi’ites had converged on the Unity Fountain, Abuja, to demand the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the group, who has been in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) for about two years.
An attempt to enter the fountain — banned for protests — was said to have led to the police firing sporadic gunshots into the air and in the process killing a protester.
But the police have denied killing anyone.
In his response, Falana condemned the “violent attack unleashed” on the Shi’ites by security operatives.
“In the process, the security forces breached the fundamental rights of the protesters to life, freedom from torture, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” he said in a statement.
“Meanwhile, the federal government has not adduced any justifiable reason why it has continued to incarcerate the Elzakzakys in utter contempt of the federal high court.
“If the federal government is genuinely desirous to stop the protests it has to comply with the valid and subsisting judgment of the federal high court forthwith. It is pertinent to point out that while it is completely illegal to deploy soldiers to shoot and kill protesters the Nigeria police force is required by law to provide adequate security for any group of Nigerians demonstrating for or against the government.
“Accordingly, the violent disruption of the peaceful rally of the Shiites was carried by security forces outside the ambit of the law. Those who carried out the violent disruption of the peaceful rally ought to be prosecuted for culpable homicide.”