By Ibrahim Usman
for their tomorrow, they gave up their today for our survival.
July 25, 2014 (Ramadan 28, 1435 AH) was a turning point in the history of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the guardianship of His Eminence Sheikh Zakzaky Ibraheem Zakzaky (H). It was the International Quds Day, the 23rd in the series commemorated by the Movement in its 35 years of existence. As it had been the case in previous years, it was the people’s glorious presence to express solidarity with the Palestinian cause. This year’s event was so pressing with the merciless siege and unhindered serial bombardment on Gaza by the illegal state of Israel. It was peaceful as it had always been in the about 21 major cities the day was observed, except in Zaria where the Nigerian arm of Israel Defence Force (IDF) had other plans.
When the procession was terminated and a closing prayer was said, the Nigerian military, some in full military gear, others in plain clothes and military vehicles, laid ambush and opened fire on the dispersing people. They laid ambush on top of buildings and in sugarcane farms and on different road intercessions, which made the situation chaotic and rowdy; that was the sole intention.
At the end of the offensive, 34 people were killed, of which 3 were sons of Sheikh Zakzaky. They were taken alive, tortured and shot dead by the commander of the special military killer squad, Lt. Col. S O. Oku of the Basawa Barrack, Zaria. Not satisfied with brutality meted on that day, the soldiers returned the next day and opened fire at Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, where the dead and injured were kept. They killed more people on that day. About 19 of those killed were also taken alive and tortured to death at the barrack; the torture included electrocution. Over 120 people sustained several forms of injuries. Since then, the military had been on red alert, trying to raise false flag in order to further unleash violence and shed more innocent blood. Leaked secret memos revealed the intention of military to embark on more violence having failed on the first attempt. The memos ordered the Nigerian military to be on “red alert”, as the “Shi’ite Sect” were to engage of “revenge mission”. To set the stage two newspapers, National Daily and The Polity, had been commissioned to write fake statements and attributed it to Sheikh Zakzaky to that effect.
What happened was not without prior notice, as Sheikh Zakzaky had on several occasions disclosed plans by the Nigeria security in collaboration with foreign forces to assassinate him and clamp down on the Movement. They indeed tried it in the early hours of 16th Sha’aban, shortly after the Sheikh’s return from Nisf Sha’aban commemoration. Having failed to execute the heinous act on that day and on the first week of the month of Ramadan as planned, they waited for the occasion of the International Quds Day.
What made this incident more significant and a turning point in the Movement’s history was never the number of the dead or injured. Needless to say, the Movement had experienced almost similar, yet untold, onslaughts in the past. The event occurred when Nigeria was experiencing its own share of the global war on Islam and new scramble for Africa being masterminded by the so called super powers in the guise of war on terrorism. Unfortunately, the people were at loss on what was happening to them. History had always proved Sheikh Zakzaky right over his forecast and vivid explanation of unfolding events that people had failed to comprehend. He had constantly stated that the so-called “Boko Haram” was a creation by the so-called the super powers who wanted to balkanize Nigeria and suppress the Islamic Movement, which they viewed as global threat to their interest in Africa, and especially Nigeria. The CIA-Israeli ready-made script, Sheikh Zakzaky had pointed out, was meant to get to the root of the Islamic Movement through covert and overt machinations.
True to word, on July 25, 2014 people in Zaria saw the real Boko Harm in their true colour; full military gear, branded military vehicles and military weaponry. To fully answer their name as “Boko Haram”, they unleashed the usual terror on innocent people, which they were known for, especially on bright and genius students- the three children of Sheikh Zakzaky. When Sheikh Zakzaky unmasked the commander of the operation, Lt. Col. S. O. Okuh of the Basawa Barrack in Zaria, it became clearer to people that the Nigerian government is the real Boko Haram, and the allegation against the government of penciling down some people for assassination became true. The profile of Okuh presented revealed that the killings going on unhindered in Nigeria and selected assassinations were prepared from outside the shores of Nigeria and executed by the Nigerian government with the intervention of foreign security agencies. That was the first eye-opener which made Nigerians come back to their senses.
Another gain from the incident was that, it united the Nigerian people the more. Hitherto, the Nigerian government used divisible strategies to isolate the Islamic Movement as a “Shi’ite Sect” and other brand names in order to fight it. As a result of what happened, it became clear the government was fighting a mass movement involving people from all walks of life, irrespective of tribal or religious inclination. The worldwide condemnation of the Nigerian government and support for the Islamic Movement in Nigeria clearly indicated how the incident united the people. It portrayed the Movement as a people-oriented, peaceful mass movement with global antenna; sheikh Zakzaky an international figure with exemplary leadership qualities. As the government was trying to cover its shame, the Islamic Movement was receiving wider acceptance and people coming to terms with what it stands for.
It can be boldly said that a line has now been drawn between Truth and Falsehood, with supporters of each side visibly identified. The worldwide comments and reactions on what happened in Zaria, Nigeria on July 25, 2014 will remain an indelible ink in history. It is a victory of Truth over Falsehood.