Premium Times (Abuja)

25 September 2013

Nigeria: Exclusive - Obasanjo's Sister Owns Apo Building Where Squatters Were Killed

Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan/Vanguard
The uncompleted building.

The unfinished building where security forces killed at least seven squatters Friday, September 20, in the Apo neighbourhood of Abuja, belongs to Mrs. Adunni Oluwole Salisu, believed to be the sister to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed.

Documents from the Abuja Geographical Information Systems (AGIS) shows that the property, located at No. 8 Bamanga Tukur Street, Gudu District, near the Gudu cemetery, belongs to Mrs. Salisu.

Ownership details of property OG247326, point unmistakably to Mrs. Salisu's land rights, but neither her, nor the former president, could be reached for comment; although authoritative family sources confirmed the ownership and the relationship.

The Gudu killings have pitched the Nigerian human rights community against anti-terrorist campaigners in a bitter debate about the threshold of caution that security forces on anti-terror missions ought to uphold where the insurgency is generally armed, and have demonstrated maximum capability for ruthless murder and violence.

Soldiers and SSS officials, spurred by intelligence reports that a sleeper cell of Boko Haram insurgents, embedded in the Gudu neighbourhood, were about to strike again in Abuja, pre-emtorily stormed the building inhabited by squatters, mostly tricycles drivers, petty traders and artisans, in the early hours of Friday, killing at least seven and leaving several injured.

A spokesman for the tricycle association angrily lambasted security officials on Channels TV, in an interview Monday, claiming that "because two or three Boko Haram people were in the building offers no excuse to kill innocent people."

Security forces have been in anxious alert after the Boko Haram insurgents scored a string of deadly success in missions that targeted This Day newspaper office, the United Nations office, the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police, and the Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters of the Police- all in Abuja. The sect has also visited punishing attacks on neighbourhood churches killing scores of worshipers.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered, within intelligence sources, Tuesday, that a mood of panic alert in the security community was what precipitated the Apo killings also thought to be "quite frankly an operational failure," underscoring, top operatives disclosed to PREMIUM TIMES, "the imperative for deeper and specialized human rights training for agents on anti-insurgency mission."

Residents claim a representative of the owner of the house had given the squatters a week notice to vacate the property.

The squatters were killed before the expiration of the notice. Most of the dead and wounded were shot in the back, execution style.

It is not known yet whether Mr. Obasanjo played any role in that tragic eviction operation.

Meanwhile, multiple security sources have told this paper that the SSS had released most of the squatters arrested at the building after it was unable to link them to any terrorist activities.

News of the release of the squatters came just as the Nigerian Senate, the Police and the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, promised to investigate the killings.

Chairman of the NHRC, Chidi Odinkalu, told PREMIUM TIMES it was essential to investigate and verify the death of the squatters.

"The facts of this matter should be dispassionately verified," Mr. Odinkalu said. "That is an obligation everybody must take seriously."

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InFocus

Nigerian Senate Orders Probe of Squatter Killings

The uncompleted building.

The Senate has ordered an investigation into the killing of homeless people, allegedly by security forces, at an uncompleted building in Apo. Read more »