Adams Urges Caution In Military Handling Civil Crisis
NATIONAL Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, has urged the military to be careful and humane in the handling of crisis involving civilian population.
Similarly, a human rights group, Access to Justice, has advised the Chief of Army Staff to step aside while inquiry into the Zaria crisis is carried out to ensure fairness and probity, even as they condemn the shedding of blood, irrespective of the circumstances.
The OPC chief was reacting to the manner the military had handled protest by the pro-Biafra agitators and the killing Zaria, Kaduna State involving Shi’ites Islamic Movement of Nigeria, in which scores of Nigerians were killed.
Adams told journalists in Osogbo, Osun state yesterday shortly after he delivered a lecture on culture at a forum by the state correspondents’ chapel that the military action was capable of worsening the security situation in the country.
He said the military should have adopted a more friendly and mature approach to disarm members of the Shi’ites and later hold their leaders responsible for obstructing public road.
“What happened in Kaduna is not what we expected right now, but I will appeal to the military and other security apparatus to be calm when they is provocation from different citizens of this country.
“Their work is to safeguard us, maintain peace in society and to guard the country against external aggression.”
He appealed to the law enforcement agents to have a change of attitude in the management of civil crisis, instead of pulling the trigger each time they are out to quell a protest.
Access to Justice’s Programme Attorney, Ifeanyi Odom, supported by the Director Joseph Otteh, said in Abuja during a press conference: “It will be more helpful if the Federal government requests or the Chief of Army Staff of his own volition, steps aside for the period of the investigation.
“This will create a better environment for a credible, more impartial, unimpeded investigation to take place and prevent, to some degree, interference or obstruction with it.”
He said the “failure of the federal government to investigate last year’s killings may have contributed indirectly to the recent incident.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State government has set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into the incident
The government has also placed a ban on religious or other forms of processions on highways or public facilities in the state.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in a broadcast, said the composition and terms of reference of the commission of inquiry would be announced within two weeks.
He assured the people of the state of government’s commitment to secure the state and upholding the rights of every citizen.