It was in a similar month, precisely December 2015, the federal government decided to execute its premeditated plan to assassinate the Islamic Movement and crush the movement once and for all. However, not as they wished, their operation didn’t go as planned, Allah delivered our Leader from their mischievous plan, spared his life and that of the Movement.
Nonetheless they were able to afflict the worst persecution ever visited on any group in the history of this country, where the Nigerian army killed over 1000+ armless civilians. Among the dead were women and children. They burnt down the residence of our leader and the iconic Husainiyya Baqiyyatullah Islamic center, among others.
Even after the brutal army crackdown, members of the Islamic Movement have been staging incessant peaceful protests, demanding for justice and the release of our leader who has been nursing several gunshot wounds, only to be met with military fire, forceful arrests and other forms of excessive force. It is as a result of military tactics against civilian protesters that at least 200 have lost their lives, with hundreds critically injured in different cities such as Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Gombe, Bauchi, Jos, Zaria, Funtua, Azare and Abuja.
Throughout these long arduous 1476 days after the pogrom by the Nigerian Army, our Leader Sheikh Zakzaky, and his wife Malama Zeenah Ibrahim have been living in tortuous pain of the bullet fragments in their bodies, with little or no proper medical care given to them. It took a court order to allow them seek medical attention abroad; and even with that, the federal government went beyond its stipulated observatory role and muddled the medical trip, forcing the couple to return home without getting the required treatment to their ailments.
Lest we forget, a whole year was spent in the legal battle to enforce the fundamental human rights of our leader. At the end of the day a historic judgment was delivered by the Abuja high court ordering for his immediate release and compensation paid to him for the infringement of his human rights. However Buhari regime in its contemptuous nature it refused to obey that valid court order. It instead approached Kaduna state government to institute trumped up charges against the biggest victim of the December 2015 military onslaught against the Islamic Movement in Zaria, thereby keeping him in perpetual illegal detention till date.
Certainly words can’t describe the grievous nature of this persecution against Sheikh Zakzaky and the Islamic Movement. Whenever Buhari regime is faced with the need to explain why it’s keeping the Sheikh behind bars, it resorts to dishing out different incoherent reasons to justify the unjustifiable. Not so long ago, the Minister of Information had told Nigerians that the leader of the Movement was being detained for his own protection, not that he committed any crime. In an effort to justify the contemptuous detention, the Minister Lai had told Nigerians that the Sheikh was being still detained because no one wants to be his neighbor. Mr. Lai had once told a television feature program that the courts don’t have the full picture, and so will not abide by the ruling of the Court with regards to Sheikh Zakzaky. This same Mr. Lai had also atrociously lied about how much the government spends to feed Sheikh Zakzaky. And of recent the Minister of justice has absolved the federal government of blame in the continued detention of our leader, claiming the case rest with Kaduna state government.
Nonetheless we will not rest on our oars; we will keep on telling the public and the international community of the brazen injustice being meted against our leader and the movement. We hope the discerning public will come to realize the enormity of the problem facing the nation in general not only the Islamic Movement, for injustice to one, is injustice to all. Turning a blind eye to the travails of Sheikh Zakzaky will not augur well for the nation in the foreseeable future. It is incumbent upon every citizen to rise up and challenge this unwarranted wickedness against Sheikh Zakzaky and other detainees. Indeed Allah has made it in clear terms that He abhors injustice and oppressors.
We have therefore come out once again, calling in unmistaken terms that our leader Sheikh Zakzaky should be released, including his wife and other detainees since the December 2015 army pogrom. Only this will confirm to the world that indeed the government is serious in re-writing the dictatorial nature it has been harboring for long and disregard for the rule of law it is known for.
SHEIKH ABDULHAMID BELLO ZARIA