TWENTY-five years after the demise of Zakari, eldest son of the late former Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, the family on Monday, enjoined the National Assembly to enact the Victims’ Rights Laws, which would protect the rights of victims of such heinous crimes.
Zakari, 27, a graduate of the University of Canterbury in Kent, was fatally shot on August 13, 1993, in Abuja.
The former No 1 family made this call at a special prayer organized to mark the 25 years remembrance of the late finance graduate, which took place simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja, observing that the way and manner in which the case ended was shrouded in confusion and equally an obvious injustice.
Elder sister to Zakari, Mrs Aisha Muhammed Oyebode, who spoke with newsmen, recalled sadly that his brother’s life was fatally cut short 25 years ago, but that despite the fact that the perpetrator was known, and all efforts made to prosecute the matter, the case never went beyond initial investigation and arraignment.
She said the call on the National Assembly was to give protection to future victims of such heinous crimes and as a remembrance to her brother, whose life was cut short in his prime.
“25 years ago today, our brother’s life was fatally cut short. Despite knowing who the perpetrator was and all efforts to prosecute the matter, the case did not make it past the initial investigation and arraignment.
“Therefore, in order to give protection to future victims of such heinous crimes and as a remembrance to our brother, we want to call for the enactment of victims’ rights legislation,” Mrs Muhammed Oyebode said.
She stressed that such law was crucial at a time like this, contending that it was one way to ensure that the rights of victims of all crimes were protected in criminal prosecutions, even as she pointed out that all around the world, victims’ rights had been acknowledged as a basic human right.
“Enacting the law is crucial at a time like this because it is one way to ensure that the rights of victims of all crimes are protected in criminal prosecutions.
“All around the world, victims’ rights have been acknowledged as a basic human right. As far back as 1985, the U.N. adopted the Declaration of the Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, so it is time for Nigeria to adopt a victim-centric approach to criminal justice,” Muhammed Oyebode said.
According to her, “Until such legislation is promulgated, many such crimes will continue to remain unsolved, encouraging unlawful killings and criminal impunity in our nation.
“Particularly in the crime of murder, where the primary victim has been killed, the secondary victims of the crime must be able to have the legal support to seek justice and push the prosecution to its logical conclusion.”
Speaking further, she described late Zakari as a kind and very considerate son and brother, whose passion for the family and for his nation was unquantifiable, adding: “We miss his laughter too.”
Meanwhile, Muhammed Oyebode has said that the 25 years remembrance would include supporting late Zakari’s alma mater, King’s College, Lagos, with academic resources in his memory.
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