– Northern youth under the Arewa Hope Foundations has called on a senior lawyer Femi Falana to desist from preempting the outcome of Kaduna state committee report on army/Shiite clash

– The Arewa Hope Foundation said Falana’s call for the prosecution of soldiers involved in the clash is unprofessional

Senior advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana Some northern youth under the umbrella of Arewa Hope Foundation has accused a senior advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana of attempts to preempt the final report of the Kaduna state committee on the clash between troops of the Nigerian army and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Zaria. The northern youth called on the senior lawyer to desist from misleading the public on the effort of the Kaduna state commission of inquiry on the clash. Some troops of the Nigerian army in a convoy of the chief of army staff had clashed with members of the Islamic group in Zaria on December 12, 2015. The clash led to the killing of many from both parties.

After the clash, a  commission of inquiry was set up by the Kaduna state governor Nasir el-Rufai. However, the leader of the Islamic group Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zanaib still under custody of the Department of State Services while the committee is expected to submit its report soon. However, last week Falana called for the prosecution of all army personnel involved in the clash.  But in a press briefing in Kaduna on Sunday, July 17, the president of the Arewa Hope Foundation Muhammadu Ibrahim said Falana is only focused on preempting the committee’s report which may have indicted the Shiites.

Ibrahim said it is worrisome for the senior lawyer to call for the prosecution of military personnel involved when the report of the committee is yet to be made public. He also said it is unfortunate that nobody has advocated for justice for the families of the soldiers slain during the clash. Ibrahim said: “It is however well known that contrary to claims that they boycotted the commission’s sitting to protest its ability to be impartial, Mr Falana and his client were saving face as they could not have face the revelations made about the atrocities, heinous crimes and the violent reputation of their sect.”

Further accusing Falana of playing the victim with his clients, the group said it respect the decision of every individual to be represented by a counsel of his choice irrespective of the crime committed. “However, the attempt by Mr. Femi Falana to use clandestine means at not only defending his clients but to secure a favourable judgement through the back door is unprofessional, irresponsible and a gross abuse of the well laid down legal and judicial practice all over the world,” Ibrahim said.

“His letter to the Kaduna AG is one of his recent penmanship aimed at harassing the Nigerian Army and its leadership, which tends to support the reported Iranian $100 million report. As solicitor to IMN he knows better than to also use other platforms and unconnected national issues to demonize the military if his clients sincerely have a case. “We raise these concerns about Falana and IMN today because we know it is the right thing to do. In the early years of Boko Haram, some lawyers made windfall of cash from freeing the extremists on technicalities whenever they were arrested and charged to court.

“It is well known that those so released became even more vicious in their hatred of the country and in the attacks they later staged. The IMN has similarly militarized, with video evidence made by them of their fighters in training as evidence, so Nigerians should be aware of what Mr Femi Falana (SAN) is trying to unleash on the country,” he said.