By Albert Akota
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has accused the police in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of shooting live bullets into its premises, damaging properties worth millions of naira.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its executive secretary, Tony Ojukwu said the attack on its headquarters was the second time in two years.
The Commission boss noted that its officials investigating cases of human rights abuse by the police are also constantly harassed by police officers, apparently to intimidate and force them to hand off the cases.
Amnesty International Nigeria has demanded “a thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the alleged attack,” describing the development as reckless and horrific.
According to NHRC, police officers after members of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) protesting against the continued detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, had descended on the premises of the commission and “deliberately targeted” the compound.
The statement reads in part; “Having assessed the situation, we are of the view that the premises of the Commission was deliberately attacked by the police with not only tear gas canisters but with live bullets.
The side door glass of one of the staff vehicles parked in the compound was shattered by bullets with bullet holes while the driver’s door frame had a live bullet presently lodged inside it.
“The window glass of one of the offices, department of education and promotion as well as the security gate house was also pierced by bullet holes.
“Now, this is not the first time the commission was attacked directly by officers of the Nigerian Police Force.
Several officers of the Commission investigating complaints of human rights violations have in the past been assaulted and intimidated by officers of the Nigerian police.”