Branding it “a primitive attempt to stoke up inter-ethnic conflict”, the Pro-democracy Non-Governmental Organization, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has condemned the Kano State Government for nullifying the prosecution of the suspected killers of Bridget Agbahime, the 74-year-old Igbo woman in Kano State.
The group’s position was made known in a statement made available to the media in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Director of Media, Zainab Yusuf.
HURIWA also totally condemned the Nigeria Police Force, Kano State Command for colluding to bungle the prosecution of the suspected killers of Agbahime, who was killed in the presence of armed policemen by Islamic zealots for alleged blasphemy.
HURIWA said the “illogical, unconstitutional and compromised decision of the Kano State Attorney General to terminate the prosecution amounted to directly rewarding the riotous and unruly armed street urchins who allegedly decapitated this innocent Igbo woman only because she is of a different ethno-religious affiliation but doing legitimate trading business in Kano State”.
Citing Section 14(2) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution, which specifies that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”, the Rights group has therefore asked both the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Ibrahim Ganduje, and President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Commissioner of Police in Kano State and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpodum Idris, “to rapidly refile the matter in a proper court system so that the killers of this Nigerian citizen are charged and punished for the unprovoked murder of this innocent Igbo woman in Kano State”.
The Rights group warned that the refusal of government of Kano and the Nigerian State to punish the killers promptly could spark off inter-ethnic and inter-religious uprising and reprisals since the person murdered was a human being with blood flowing in her veins before her precious life was terminated by unchained brutes in Kano State who are now offered Kano State Government’s reward for this gruesome hate crime.
Besides, HURIWA has tasked the national leadership of both the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to mount coordinated pressures to compel both the Kano State and Federal Government to stop this clear injustice about to be perpetrated against the family of the assassinated Agbahime who was murdered in broad daylight by armed Islamic fanatics on the streets of Kano State.
The statement said: “We are by this statement to the media challenging the political leaders of the South East and specifically the governor of Imo State Mr. Rochas Okorocha to wake up from slumber and seek for redress for the family of this Imo State woman killed in Kano State by street urchins in the full glare of the police.”
On Thursday, a Kano State Magistrate Court presided over by Jibrin Muhammad freed five suspected killers of Agbahime.
The 74-year-old trader was killed at Kofar Wambai Market for alleged blasphemy.
Muhammad’s decision was based on the directive of the Kano State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
The freed suspects – Dauda Ahmed, Abdulmumeen Mustafa, Zubairu Abubakar, Abdullahi Abubakar and Musa Abdullahi – were charged with a four-count charge of allegedly inciting disturbance, culpable homicide, joint act and mischief.
The woman, who hailed from Imo State, was murdered on June 2, 2016 at Kofar Wambai Market over alleged blasphemy.
In his submission earlier, the state counsel, Rabiu Yusuf, who represented the attorney-general of the state, told the court that they have no case against the suspects.
Yusuf said: “The legal advice presented to the court, dated June 24, states that there is no case to answer as the suspects are all innocent, and orders the court to discharge all the suspects.”