NHRC started investigating killing of UNIJOS undergraduate

The National Human Rights Commission has started investigating the killing of a 20-year-old undergraduate of University of Jos, Rinji Bala, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.

Bala, a 300-Level History and International Studies student in the university was reportedly shot by a soldier under the Nigeria Army’s Operation Safe Havens, after he was arrested in his neighbourhood in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State, on May 12.

The deceased was said to have been arrested at about 7pm on the day for violating the COVID-19 lockdown.

The NHRC, in a statement by its Director Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, Lambert Oparah, on Sunday, said it “condemned in strong terms the recent gruesome killing of a young University of Jos undergraduate, Rinji Peter Bala, allegedly by security operatives along Zaria Road, Jos, Plateau State.”

The statement, quoting the NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, said the NHRC “has launched a full scale investigation into the unfortunate death of the student sequel to the preliminary findings received by the office headquarters, Abuja.”

Ojukwu was said to have “directed the Jos office of the commission “to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of the young man with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.”

“The commission described the killing of Rinji as inhuman and a gross violation of his right to life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended and other international human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a party,” the statement added.

It also quoted the NHRC boss as saying the investigation into the killing “is in line with the commission’s mandate of monitoring and investigating all alleged cases of human rights violations in the country and seek appropriate redress and remedies for victims.”

Ojukwu who commiserated with the family of the deceased, called for calm, assuring that no stone would be left unturned in getting to the root of the sad incident.

The commission noted that between March 31 and May 4, 2020, the period of the first and second phases of the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by government, it documented a total of 209 rights violations of which 29 were extrajudicial killings.

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