Adelani Adepegba and Okechukwu Nnodim
The United States has called on the Federal Government to account for the deaths of 300 Shi’ite members killed last December.
On December 15, 2015, following clashes between members of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria and security forces in Zaria, Kaduna State, at least 300 Shi’ites were reportedly killed.
In a statement from the US Embassy Information Office on Friday in Abuja, the country expressed deep concern over the latest clash between the police and the Shi’ite members in Kano, describing the security agency’s response to the procession as “disproportionate.”
Hence, it called for calmness, restraint and communication between the Shi’ite members and government authorities.
The US said the Shi’ite group, like other religious groups, had the “right to assemble, peacefully express their religious beliefs, and mark their celebrations.”
The US admonished the Federal Government to protect and defend these rights.
It said, “The US is deeply concerned by the deaths of dozens of Nigerians during clashes between individuals participating in a Shia procession and the Nigerian Police Force in Kano State on November 14.
“While the matter is still under investigation, we are troubled by the apparent disproportionate response by the police.”
The US also called on members of the IMN and all citizens to respect the rule of law and cooperate with the police in their attempt to maintain public order.
“We also call on the Nigerian government to conduct a transparent investigation of the latest incidents and bring to account anyone responsible for violating the law,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a human rights group, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, has called for the intervention of the United Nations in addressing the recurring attacks by the Shi’ite Islamic movement on police officers and other security agents in the country. (Punchng.com)