We are all aware of the unfortunate event that occurred at Zaria between 12th and 14th December 2015. Proofs abound to establish that the operations by the Nigerian Army were well coordinated and preplanned. It was not as a result of provocations due to "clash". Independent investigations by renowned and reputable human rights organizations have affirmed gross violations of human rights, other abuses and extrajudicial killings by the Army.
Several hundreds of armless civilians including women, children and the aged were killed. Among them is sizeable number of students studying in various institutions within the country and abroad. The victims were either killed or buried in mass graves (in Mando) or detained without trial. These figures do not include those undergoing trial at the Kaduna convict prison. Worse of it all, the revered leader of the IMN, Sheikh Zakzaky is still incarcerated and the legal proceedings to gain his freedom is being frustrated by the Nigerian Government.
We can recall that the legal team of IMN led by Femi Falana (SAN) and Festus Okoye Esq made fruitless attempts to see the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in detention to get his view for the purposes of submitting memorandum to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and his appearance before the Commission. Femi Falana (SAN) and Festus Okoye Esq and other members of the legal team of the Movement visited the headquarters of the DSS on more than four occasions at the invitation of the DSS for purposes of having audience with the leader of the Movement and all the visits yielded no result. It is therefore clear that there is a laid out plan to prevent the legal team of the Movement from having access to its client, its spokesperson of the movement and the custodian of its properties.
Since the December (2015) attack , the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leadership has been further subjected to unwarranted and vicious attack by the Kaduna State Government, the military, the Police and some hired and faceless writers engaged against the leadership IMN and its members. The Kaduna State Government completed what the Nigerian Military started and demolished the structures of the Movement in moves aimed at destroying crime evidences and denying the Movement any foothold in Zaria and its environs.
Rather than apologizing to the Movement and its leader for the various acts of genocide and violation of the fundamental rights of the Movement, the Kaduna State Government in concert with the leadership of the Nigerian Military moved and set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry with skewed terms of reference and membership. Even at that, the Movement still made efforts to cooperate with the Judicial Commission but all the efforts made was thwarted by those who wanted to annihilate the Movement and what it stands for.
The Judicial commission of inquiry set by Kaduna State government lacks the jurisdiction and capacity to subject a National outfit like the Nigerian Army to justice. The Kaduna state appointed some tainted members into the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to assist it annihilating the Movement. Some of the terms of reference of the Commission accords with the views and hate public speeches of some of the members. The speeches and utterances of some of these members of the Commission disqualified their membership.
The likes of Umar Labdo who wrote in his book titled ‘YAN SHI’A DA AKIDOJINSU’ (Shiites and their beliefs), on the page 3 wrote: “Nothing will usher in peaceful coexistence in this country like the Muslims acquiring dangerous weapons similar to those of Christians or even more sophisticated ones, and they should train their youths in handling such weapons so that they can use them in times of need. Only if the Muslims wreck enough havoc like their Christian counterparts (at each other’s throat like dog and monkey fight), will peace reign supreme. But a situation where only the Muslims are at the receiving end while the Christians go Scot free, the much needed peace will remain elusive.”
Umar Labdo, an extremist to the core and an unrepentant religious bigot is today sitting as a commissioner in a panel investigating the Zaria genocide executed against the people he so much hate with a passion – a mass movement he repeatedly called for their annihilation. It is with such similar venomous animosity against the Christians in Nigeria that he recommended the following measures be taken against the Shiites on page 74 of the same book:
“Shiite schools should be closed because it is from there they spread their deviant beliefs”. Shiites should not be allowed to teach in public and private schools including universities. Their properties should be confiscated, like their houses. There should be investigation on their finances especially from foreign countries like Iran and Lebanon.”
Soon after, his prescription was practiced in Sokoto, Umar Labdo quickly authored another book “Bacin Tafarkin Yan Shia da Akidojinsu” (The unsuitability of Shiah Creed and their beliefs), in which he wrote on pages 2 and 3:
After dispersing the Shiites from Sokoto state, where they wanted to make their West African headquarters, they have now fled to other states, especially Kano State, where they now wish to make their new centre. It is obligatory on other state governments not to wait for a time when there will be mass shedding of blood in their cities and towns before they act”.
“To the generality of Muslims, the duty over their heads is to ensure that they all contribute, each according to his strengths, in fighting this group… Those in authority, Scholars, masses, the wealthy, each must all contribute his quota to check this spread of Shia.”
Another member of the commission, Salihu Shehu has equally been a very vocal, radical, fanatic, and a staunch wahabi/salafi preacher as well as a prominent Shi’aphobic figure who in his lectures, presentations, writings and discussions never stops to attack the Islamic Movement and its leadership.
The Commission should have been a committee to investigate a massacre consisting of independent individuals who are not directly or indirectly party to that massacre but unfortunately has these as the best they could get.
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria “Clashes” as they termed it submitted its final report on Friday, 15th July 2016. The executive Governor of Kaduna state Nasir El-Rufai promised that the State would make the report public after some times with the help of his nine-member white paper drafting committee. Attached to this press release is a Dissection of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Report.
Justice to the oppressed victims is mandatory and as we know, Justice delayed is justice denied. It is already nine months now.
We therefore wish to request for the intervention of all concerned people nationally and internationally for the sake of peace, unity, humanity and the development of Nigeria as appropriate. We hope that all would take up the responsibility of calling the executive arm of the Nigerian government to order. We are bonafide citizens of Nigeria and are entitled to all the rights.
We are deeply concerned and worried about the present health condition of our leader, Shaikh Zakzaky. Constitutionally, it is mandatory for the Nigerian state and those holding him to release him urgently and unconditionally to enable him seek proper medical care in place of his choice, since he has not criminal charge. He should be freed from this illegal detention, because unconstitutionally holding him hostage is a clear violation of his basic right and is unacceptable.
Finally, we are calling on all Nigerians and the international community to join us and stand for the truth, justice and fairness. Shaikh Zakzaky, his wife and the rest of the one hundred and ninety one (191) innocent citizens should be release immediately and unconditionally.
Again, the Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the Leadership of Shaikh Zakzaky wish to extend its appreciation and gratitude to all those who commiserate with us over the brutal crackdown of our innocent hundreds of students, women, babies, young and old members, including the earlier three sons of Sheikh Zakzaky killed among 34 others between 12th to 14th December 2015 by the same Nigerian Army.
Names of those who personally came and those that send messages are too numerous to mention, but we wish to acknowledged the following personalities and organizations:
Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamne’I Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran ,Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’adu Maccido, Shaikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, Shaikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara, Shaikh Kasiyuni Nasiru Kabara, Daarul Kadiriyya, Sunni Cleric Shaikh Idris Abdulazeez Bauchi, Christian Association of the Nigeria Youths of 19 northern states, American Activist that protested in US, the Islamic Human Right Commission , people of Pakistan, India, Canada , United Kingdom , Australia , Iran, Iraq, South Africa, Ghana, Cameroun, Niger Republic, Palestine, the Latin American countries, Sayyid Hassan Nasrullah, Sayyid Muktada Sadar, Professor Dahiru Yahya, Save the World Organizations, Nigerian Students, University/Polytechnics/ College of Education lecturer , Amnesty International , Abdulhakeem Baba Ahmed, Professor Ango Abdullahi, Chiroman Bauchi , Professor Hadiza Nuhu, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, The People of Niger Delta, the Entire Igbo Community, brothers and sisters of Ilorin , Ibadan and Lagos, Hajiya Naja’atu Kano, Senator Shehu Sani, Concerned Members of the National House of Assembly Abuja, Concerned Members of State House of Assembly Kaduna, Dr. Bawa Abdullahi Wase, Hon Ebenezer M Oyetakin, Mrs Ndi Kato, Mr Femi Falana SAN, Mr Boma Oga of Niger Delta Region, Mr Festus Okoye, Dr Peregrino Brimah We most sincerely thank all for your concern and pray that Allah in His Infinite Mercy accept the massacred citizens as Martyrs.
Our Demand Is Simple: Immediate And Unconditional Release Of Our Leader, Shaikh Zakzaky, His Wife And Others
For : Academic Forum of The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)
Shuaibu I. Ahmad