By Haroun Elbinawi
I was shocked to see this headlines from the website of a Nigerian daily Newspaper “Leadership” that was a quote from the legal Counsel to the Nigerian secret police (DSS) that have been holding the Nigerian Islamic scholar Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in detention for more than 6 months now without charge of any offense.
If I may humbly ask all:Is it possible that a sane person is “happy and comfortable with his detention”? The Nigerian regime under President Buhari sent thousands of heavily-armed soldiers to 4 sites of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on the 12th-14th December, 2015 and one of those sites was the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky. The soldiers killed 100s of defenceless and unarmed Nigerians that included women and children, burnt down the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky with him and his family inside the house.
He survived by a miracle then the soldiers returned and discovered 12 of them survived the massacre, the soldiers on sighting them open fire on them and brutally executed his 3 sons in his presence then proceeded to rain bullets on him and his wife. The soldiers then went further to parade the wounded Sheikh Zakzaky, a man that has millions of followers within and outside Nigeria, in a wheelbarrow in the most savage and barbaric manner. The same Nigerian regime that sent those soldiers to commit these heinous crimes and atrocities is today telling us that “El-Zakzaky is happy and comfortable with his detention”. Wonders they said shall never end!
Excerpt from the Leadership news report stated “The Department of State Security Service (DSS), Nigerian secret police, says the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is being detained at his own will. The DSS is making the statement in defence of accusations by the council to the leader of the Shiites that his rights were being violated. Counsel to the DSS, Mr Tijani Gazali, told reporters on Tuesday that the Shiite leader was held by security operatives at his own will and for his benefits.”
Mr Gazali added: “He needs not give his consent because it is the duty of the DSS to protect every Nigerian especially one who is as vulnerable as the Shiite leader is at the moment”. But in his defence, counsel to El-Zakzaky, Mr Festus Okoye, said he had not received any statement from his client that would corroborate the claims of the DSS. He also accused the DSS of breaching the fundamental human rights of his client.“The hearing on the suit filed by the Shiite leader challenging his arrest and continued detention could not commence following the fresh issues raised by the DSS that he had been held under protective custody and not detention.” My excerpt of the news report ends here. Now the Nigerian regime of President Buhari is claiming that they are holding Sheikh Zakzaky “under protective custody”, then lets ask “what is protective custody?” The Legal-Dictionary website defined “protective custody” as: “The act of law enforcement officials in placing a person in a government facility or foster home in order to protect him/her from a dangerous person or situation. Most commonly a child who has been neglected or battered or is in danger from a violent person, is taken in as a temporary ward of the state and held in probation facilities or placed in a foster home until a court can decide the future placement of the child. Protective custody is sometimes used to help women threatened by a husband, boyfriend or a stalker, and also for witnesses who have been threatened with physical harm or death they testify.” Now the analysis of the definition of “protective custody”. If Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat Ibraheem, were placed in a government facility as claimed by the Nigerian regime to “protect them from dangerous people or situation” then who are those dangerous people that the Nigerian secret police is so “kind and generous” to protect them from? The answer is obviously the Nigerian army who attacked their house, killed 100s of his followers, burnt the house with all his belongings that included his enviable Library and all the belongings of his family and extra judicially murdered his 3 sons in his presence. But the fact remained that both the Nigerian army and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) are all agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria that are directly under President Buhari. It is important to not that All the personnel of both agencies are paid by the Federal Government and the Nigerian President is constitutionally responsible for the appointment of the heads of both agencies and they directly receive orders from him.
If we can remember immediately after the inhuman Zaria massacre when the Iranian-based news channel, PressTV, interviewed the GOC of 1 mechanized battalion of the Nigerian army that is based in Kaduna on the fate of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, he said:”they are alive & in a protective custody, we didn’t arrest them but we rescue them.” The grand deception by the Nigerian regime of “protective custody” started from here.
To simplify the unfolding scenario to the truth seeking mind, President Buhari sent the Nigerian army to attack the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky – all orders of troop movement comes from the President as he is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces – then the same President Buhari now uses another agency, the DSS, to detain Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife without trial or been charge to court for 6 months. Then the same President Buhari is now telling Nigerians and the world that “El-Zakzaky is happy and comfortable with his detention!”. The honored friend, please is President Buhari not an evil genius? Who is the Nigeria regime and President Buhari trying to deceive, the conscious Nigerians or the alerted world or both? How can President Buhari hold a person he almost killed and infact killed his 3 sons in detention “at his will and for his benefit”? Why will Sheikh Zakzaky wish to be detained by the regime that murdered 1000+ of his followers in less than 48 hours that included his 3 sons and almost killed him and his wife? What benefit have Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife gained by been in detention for 6 months with 3 of those months incommunicado by the same Nigerian regime that attacked his residence? And which Muslim wish to fast the entire holy month of Ramadhan under the detention of a secret police?
On a last note, President Buhari is chasing shadows and suffers from self-deception and mental ineptitude if he thinks he can deceive the world by burying the gruesome murder of 1000+ defenseless and unarmed Nigerians and dumped their dead bodies in mass Graves. The world in 2016 is not the same as the world of 1967-70 when the then capt Buhari was alleged to have massacred Biafran women and children and got away with it. Today, the world is a global village due to the exponential progress in communication technology and the means of deliverance. The world is watching, the inhuman Zaria massacre cannot be buried by anybody as undoubtedly monumental war crimes were committed against defenseless civilians.
(Elbinawy is the official of the #FREEZAKZAKY CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE# He writes from Zaria Kaduna state)