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Engel Statement on Importance of Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Nigeria

ENGEL STATEMENT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the need for accountability for human rights violations in Nigeria:

“Between December 12-14 last year, approximately 350 civilians were killed by the Nigerian army in Zaria.  In August, I wrote to President Buhari commending the findings of the Nigerian government’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry and asking that the persons responsible for these human rights violations be held accountable.  As of this date, we have not seen evidence that this has occurred.  Although President Buhari’s government has made some progress towards civilian protection, I worry that continued security force abuses, like the ones that occurred in Zaria, and the absence of accountability could compromise U.S. efforts to support Nigeria in countering terrorism and violent extremism.  As it has been one year since the Zaria Massacre, I would encourage the government of Nigeria to move swiftly towards breaking cycles of violence that have previously played a key role in the rise of insurgent and terrorist groups across the country.  A key element of breaking with past practices is through ensuring accountability for the victims of human rights violations.”