As we come out today in our thousands to once again press for the release of our incarcerated Leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and others detained with him, people of conscience will be aghast as to why this issue has not been resolved up to now?
It has not only been resolved, we have also not seen any concrete steps being taken to assure us that justice will finally take its course on the December Zaria pogrom carried out by the Army.
It is now nine months since the brutal attack by the Army on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna state. This unfortunate incident won’t just fizzle out. Why would it, without an amicable solution to it?
The Judicial Commission of inquiry set up by Kaduna state government recently submitted its report, indicting the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigeria Army 1st Division who authorized the killings. The panel ruled that the force used by the army against the Islamic Movement was disproportionate and that the officers involved acted against the Armed Forces Act 1994 and the 1999 Constitution. The GOC and other officers involved in the massacre were recommended for trial in a court of competent jurisdiction. However since the release of the panel’s report, it is not known if and how the Kaduna government, which set up the enquiry would get the indicted Army officers to face trial.
It is disturbing that in a democracy and under a government that swore to protect our lives, at least 347 citizens as admitted by KDSG would be killed and it would be taken as normal. But we have it on record that 850 people are missing since the carnage in Zaria.
That incident was gruesome and offends the sensibility of any person whose conscience is still alive. It is disheartening that some hired and paid agents of doom want Nigerians to turn their eyes the other way, wanting to pretend that a terrible thing did not happen before our very eyes. But let them ponder over these questions: Are members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria not human beings? Are they not Nigerians? If even they are not Nigerians, don’t they have the right to exist? If they are Nigerians or have Nigerians among them, does the freedom of worship clause in our constitution not apply to them?
The Presidency had described the Army’s attack on IMN as a military affair, when it happened. It never condemned the killings, despite the huge number of citizens involved. When President Muhammadu Buhari was asked about the incident during an interview, last December, he suggested the victims got what they bargained for, for confronting the Army, while in reality the Army wasn’t confronted.
However President Buhari should show fairness and justice in this matter. As the Commander-in-chief, he has appeared, so far, to be siding with his soldiers against the citizens who put him in office. Officers responsible for killing innocent citizens must be brought to justice. Our leader Sheikh El-Zakzaky must be released. His family and families of victims of the Army’s senseless killings must be compensated.
Let us remind all peace loving people of Nigeria and the world in general that Allah has said in his holy book, the Qur’an that whosoever does good, will see it; and whosoever does wrong will also see it.
SHEIKH ABDULHAMID BELLO ZARIA