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Nigeria - post-violence controversy - interview

Nigerian opposition slams anti-Boko Haram offensive

Article published on the 2009-08-02 Latest update 2009-08-03 09:20 TU

Police with an alleged rebel's body(Photo: AFP)

Police with an alleged rebel's body
(Photo: AFP)

Nigeria's main opposition party, the Action Congress, has slammed the government of president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua for its handling of the uprising by hardline Islamists in the north of the country. The violence left over 600 people dead.

The Action Congress today accuses president Yar'Adua of gross irresponsibility for going ahead with an official trip to Brazil while the rebellion was at its height.

There are continuing calls in the country for a judicial inquiry into possible summary executions by the military after the death in custody of the Boko Haram leader Mohamed Yusuf and several members of his pro-Taliban sect.

And the Nigerian Red Cross chair in Borno state, Bulama Mali Gugio, told RFI Sunday that the death toll in Maiduguri alone is close to 800.

The Action Congress wants Yar'Adua to apologise for the Brazil trip compensate relations of those killed in the violence.

"What has happened is that, pursuant to the directive of the President, these guys were exterminated," says Action Congress interim leader Femi Falana, who says that extra-judicial killings are common in his country.

"Today, in all the states of the federation of Nigeria, once armed robbery suspects are paraded by the commissioners of police, they are executed," Falana told RFI. "There is no form of trial."

Comment: Action Congress leader Femi Falana

02/08/2009 by William Niba

Falana describes the operation against Boko Harama as "totally ill-advised" and slams the Yar'Adua for "gallivanting around ... while a crisis of such monumental dimensions was taking place in the country".

"All we are asking for is that the relations of those who have been killed in regard to extra-judiciary killings be paid adequate compensation, while all those who took part in all those illegal killings be prosecuted," the opposition chief says. 

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