Nigeria’s National Commission for Human Rights calls for president’s impeachment

David Thompson, BBC News, Nigeria

Members of a National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) investigation have called for Nigeria’s president to be impeached.

They said he “carried out monstrous and barbaric acts” on unarmed citizens.

In November 2016, police shot dead at least 47 people in Nigeria’s wealthy megacity of Lagos, in a massacre the government says was the result of attacks by members of the kidnap gang Boko Haram.

Dozens of others were wounded in the killings by officers.

In addition to calling for the president’s impeachment, the commissioners said 15 police officers should be prosecuted for the killing of the protesters.

‘Intervention’

The board of the commission said the violence was not an isolated incident but an “intervention”, according to the BBC’s reporter in Nigeria, David Thompson.

It has now issued several recommendations to Nigerian authorities which include improved police education and training, the setting up of a police task force, as well as rehabilitation programmes for both victims and police officers involved in the shooting.

In the months after the killings, Nigeria’s then Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, named five officers as suspects and one was in custody.

Mr Idris was removed from office and replaced with Mr Idris’ deputy.

In a series of interviews with BBC News, one of the commissioners told us that the commission had not been asked to do the interviews but that he “had no choice but to intervene.”

They said they had supported the work of Mr Idris in dealing with the issue.

But the interviewees say they are not sure if this is the case any more, especially as after their removal the country’s federal police said they did not have any evidence to support their accusations.

Earlier this month, in a case which Mr Idris’s successor is investigating, some of the protesters who were killed at the toll gate in November were awarded damages by a tribunal, BBC News reports.

No direct link

The six-person board, which was appointed by the president in 2016, is made up of three lawyers, a social work specialist and a human rights activist.

“The assassination of innocent citizens, many of them innocent children, is a heinous crime which should be condemned by all and sundry.

“It is however pertinent to note that the commission established this panel to provide an unbiased and unbiased investigation into the issue, without any direct link to the current political crisis,” the board said in a statement.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, has rejected the allegation that Mr Buhari was involved in the shooting of protesters.

The government said at the time that the massacre had been caused by gunfights between the police and members of the kidnapping gang, the “Babangida Boys” , operating in the south-eastern state of Ondo, the BBC News, Nigeria reports.

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