Shiite group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), has commended the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for withdrawing its invitation to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to speak at the association’s annual general conference coming up in August.
NBA had withdrawn its invitation to the governor to speak at its annual conference following criticisms, protests and even threats of boycott from lawyers and others.
The IMN in a letter written to NBA and signed by the President of the Movement’s Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa commended the move of the association.
“The Islamic Movement noted that Governor El-Rufai is the most unsuitable person to talk to a body of learned men considering his legendary disrespect for the rule of law, blatant abuses of fundamental rights and intolerance to opposing views.
“El-Rufai has been an agent of impunity and division who supports extra-judicial killings and building of mass graves.
“He, in collaboration with officers of the Nigerian army, attacked members of the Islamic Movement, without recourse to law, leading to the gruesome extrajudicial murder of at least 347 members of the Movement (by the government’s own admission) in December 2015 and hurriedly buried them in mass graves.
“Despite the open confession by the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government, Alhaji Lawal Balarabe Abbas before a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, governor el-Rufai has refused to prosecute the criminal elements who perpetrated these crimes, but rather paradoxically filed charges of conspiracy and culpable homicide against over 250 members of the IMN at Kaduna state high courts.
“Although the Kaduna high courts have since discharged and acquitted all of them, governor el-Rufai has continued to seek further ways to subjugate and persecute members and leadership of the Movement in contravention of his oath of office to “do right to all manners of people according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
“Certainly, such a person must not be promoted or allowed to address an Association of learned men, whose motto is “Promoting the Rule of Law.
“We therefore salute your unique courage to stand firmly on the path of what you profess to promote and stamp out – impunity and gross abuse of human rights in our beloved country, which loudly proclaims to operate under the rule of law.”
Gov. El-Rufai has not commented on the latest claim from IMN but has previously denied all the allegations.
He also described the withdrawal of the invitation by NBA as unfair.
“While the decision about who speaks at its event is entirely the NBA’s, Malam Nasir El-Rufai wishes to make clear that he did not seek the platform and is not agitated that he has one less speaking engagement,” said the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye.
Adekeye knocked the NBA for endorsing what he claimed was a one-sided narrative on a profound national issue stressing that it was a matter members of the NBA may wish to reflect upon.
“For an association, whose bread and butter is about justice to make a ruling based on the stridency of people who lampoon judicial processes against certain individuals without hearing the other side is odd. It bears noting that in its response to pressure, the NBA leadership has signaled an unfortunate embrace of injustice, unfairness, absence of fair hearing and total disregard for the rule of law,” it stated,” he stated.