Zaria Clash: Falana Demands Prosecution Of Indicted Soldiers

falanaA human rights activist and lead counsel to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Mr Femi Falana (SAN), is demanding for the immediate prosecution of soldiers and officers who were involved in the killing of 347 members of the movement in Zaria between December 12 and 13, 2015.

The latest demand comes after the commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the clash between the army and Shiites submitted its re­port to Governor Nasir El-Rufai.

In a letter he addressed to the Attorney General of Kaduna State and Commissioner for Justice, Falana frowned over the continuous detention of the leader of the movement, Sheik Ibra­heem Zakzaky without trial, describing it as a “gross violation of his fundamental human rights”.

He threatened to file another legal action at the State High Court if no action is taken by the attorney General to prosecute the masterminds of the killings.

“Take note if you fail to accede to our clients’ demand we shall not hesitate to apply to the High Court of Kaduna State for an or­der of mandamus to compel you to discharge your constitutional duty by charging the indicted culprits to court in line with your oath of office to do right to all manners of people according to law, without fear or favour, af­fection or ill-will”.

The Senior Advoate of Nigeria further stated that “the Federal Government was embar­rassed by the unlawful killing of the 34 members of the IMN by the army. In the circumstances, the National Human Rights Com­mission expressed condolence and tendered a public apology to the bereaved families on behalf of the Federal Government.

“But despite the official apol­ogy, the Kaduna State gov­ernment did not prosecute the suspects who perpetrated the unlawful killing. At the material time, Mr. Nasir El Rufai publicly condemned the brutal killing and paid a condolence visit to the IMN leader in his residence.

“In the light of the foregoing, we have the instructions of our clients to request you to prose­cute the members of the Nigerian Army who took the law into their hands by unleashing mayhem on unarmed civilians in Zaria, Ka­duna State from December 12-14, 2015.

“Specifically, you are requested to charge the suspects with conspiracy, willful damage to property, arson and culpable homicide not later than July 31, 2016”, Falana said

Soyinka, Falana Demand Better Welfare For Nigerian Child

welfareThe Nigerian government has been asked to take more proactive steps to ensure the safety, education and improved welfare for the Nigerian child.

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), made the call on Sunday at a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

In his speech, Professor Soyinka condemned those who are weaving religion sentiment around child marriage.

“When you damage a child because of your own depravity, you ruin that child for life (and) traumatise that child. Whether you say you believe in any religion, you are committing a crime.

“We are against crimes committed (that are) defined by the constitution (and) the legal structure that binds us all together,” he said.Soyinka

Professor Soyinka also asked the Police to take charge in securing the safety of all citizens, saying that they are the first call in curbing crime.

“They should be the first call when the child goes missing and they cannot abandon the job until they have restored the child to the rightful parent,” he said.

Playing on the Intelligence of Nigerians

Mr Falana on his part, was displeased with child marriage, stressing that it was illegal to marry a girl without the approval of the parent.

“The law says under 18, it is illegal to marry out anybody and in this case, whether in the north or in the south, you cannot marry out a girl without the approval of the parent” he said.

Femi-FalanaThe Senior Advocate noted that those referring to religion are playing on the intelligence of Nigerians, adding that it was the responsibility of the government to cater for every underage child found hawking on the streets.

“Under the Child’s Right Act, every child must be put in school at the expense of the state and that applies to Lagos or any of the states in the south where we have children on the streets who are hawking all manners of goods,” he said.

Mr Falana attributed the street hawking to the high rate of abuses on the child such as kidnap and rape, calling on the citizens to retrieve all underage children that have been forced into illegal marriages.

Dana Air crash: Coroner issues arrest warrant on Red Cross, Conoil, and Total

The Coroner of Alimosho District in Lagos state, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, who is conducting an inquest into the recent Dana Air crash, on Thursday, issued a bench warrant on some oil companies and emergency relief agencies, compelling them to appear before him on Monday.

Dana Air crash site in iju ishaga

Those who the bench warrants were issued on include Red Cross Society of Nigeria, Conoil Plc, and Total Nigeria Limited.

The Lagos Coroner gave the order while responding to a submission made by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) whose law firm, Falana and Falana Chambers, petitioned the Lagos State Chief Coroner, Justice Lateefat Okunnu, for an inquiry into the air crash.

At the resumed sitting of the inquest on Thursday, Mr Falana reminded the Coroner that some oil companies and emergency agencies that have been served with summons are yet to appear before it.

The human rights lawyer also suggested that the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force should be ordered to investigate the deaths of people that died on the ground, emphasizing that it is not the responsibility of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

He noted that the AIB is only to investigate the causes of the crash of ill-fated Dana airline.

Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into a residential building in the densely populated Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos on the 3rd of June, 2012, killing all 153 passengers and crew on board and nine people also lost their lives in the affected building.

Magistrate Komolafe and other interested parties also agreed to schedule appearance of more witnesses following the submission of the counsel to the Nigerian Airspace Management, Mr. Obi Okwusogu (SAN).

The Magistrate also directed that any of the witnesses who are submitting deposition should forward it to the court two days before the day they would give evidence.

Video Clips

According to the schedule, Channels Television and AIT are to appear on Monday to show the clips of the crash on the day it happened.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and Julius Berger, who had earlier been summoned but failed to show up, are scheduled for Tuesday along with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The AIB which was represented by its counsel, Maureen Tsenongo at the hearing where she told the Coroner that she intends to submit a written deposition and requested to make appearance on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 to enable her bring its witness.

The Coroner also granted the request of the counsel to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Mr. Babatunde Irukera and his Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), C. Chiwete to appear on Thursday, August 2, 2012 and Monday, August 6, 2012 respectively.

The court proceeding with the Coroner was then adjourned to Monday, July 30, 2012.