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Forty-day prayers for repose of the Soul of 4 killed by Police in Kano during Arbeeen Trek, Brothers and Sisters Demand Justice

By Dauda Nalado & Muhd Ahmad
The ‘Arbaeen’, which is on 20th Safar of each calendar year, is a very important date to Muslims, especially the Shiah, the world over. It is a symbol of commemorating 40 days of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), the grandson of the Prophet (SAAW) through a symbolic trek to Karbala from different locations. 

It is a religious ritual which symbolizes the arduous foot journey and humiliating display of the progeny of the Prophet (as captives) through major towns from Karbala to Damascus. In other countries the trek is arranged to terminate at certain locations as appropriate.

The trek has become famous in Nigeria. Muslims especially Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of his Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky (H) embark upon it annually. Different Joint meeting centers were established where Arbaeen mourners will meet and commence the peaceful symbolic trek to Zaria. Kano is one of these designated centers. The idea of trekking to mark or celebrate an event by individuals or group of people is not alien. It is part of the citizen’s right to peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, association and conscience. Several people trekked much longer distances to celebrate the victory of President Buhari.

This year, Kano centre embarked on the arbaeen symbolic trek on Sunday, 5th November, 2017 AD (15th Safar, 1439 H). The peaceful procession went through the old city smoothly and came out with the intention of terminating it at the outskirts of the metropolitan. However, due to some logistics, the procession was terminated for the day near Zoo road roundabout by 2: 00 pm. As people were dispersing, suddenly, without any provocation or warning, men and officers of the Kano State Police command descended with brute force on the unarmed peaceful civilians attacking them with tear gas and live ammunitions. This resulted on the instant extra judicial killing of four: Two males and two females. Many others were afflicted with varying degrees of injury.

Those murdered in cold blood were Umar Ahmad, a father of one; Malama Aisha Ibrahim, a mother of four; Shafiu Abdullahi and then Husaina Dauda Nalado, an undergraduate 200 level student of Civil Engineering at Bayero University. The two female corpses were in the custody of their families and were buried according to Islamic rites. The other two male corpses were carted away by the police but only that of Umar Ahmad was later handed over to his family for burial after several weeks.

It may be recalled that last year similar episode happened where the police murdered almost thirty symbolic trekkers, including an 8-month old baby Zainab, at karfi along Zaria road. Only eight corpses were buried by their families. The handover of the remaining corpses who are held by the police is still being awaited for. The police who are law enforcement agents need to be law abiding and stop perpetrating acts of lawlessness with impunity.

We call upon all people of conscience, people with humanity in their blood, human right activists, upright media, civil liberties organizations, international organizations, the legislature and the judiciary to ensure that the executive governor and the police commissioner of Kano state together with all the culprits in these dastardly acts are brought to justice. We also use this medium to call on Buhari administration in a democratic set up as opposed to military dictatorship to obey court order. Arrangement should be done for the urgent and unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky (H), his wife Malama Zeenah and his disciples who are prisoners of conscience. Justice delayed is surely justice denied.

Dr Dauda Nalado
27th Rabiul Awwal 1439 H( 15/12/2017)