Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, has condemned the killing of Shiites by the Nigerian Army.
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have suffered hundreds of deaths by Nigerian soldiers since 2015 when their worship centres were invaded by soldiers in Zaria, leading to a massacre.
Mr Abubakar reacted publicly, perhaps for the first time, to the killing when he appeared on ‘The Candidates’, a televised town hall hosted by journalist Kadaria Ahmed on NTA Wednesday night.
Mr Abubakar spoke specifically about the October 27-29 violence against Shiite protesters in Abuja by the Nigerian Army, during which more than 40 protesters were killed when soldiers opened live rounds. The Shiites were widely seen not to be armed, and military only accused them of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at troops.
Mr Abubakar said soldiers should not have been involved in clashes with civilians, notwithstanding the circumstances. He said only the police should have been involved in quelling such processions even if they turned violent.
The former vice-president had long avoided speaking about the matter, with his close associates saying it was a calculated political move to avoid driving a wedge between the Sunni dominated northern Nigeria and the minority Shi’a devotees ahead of a crucial presidential election.
Credit: Premium Times