By Abdulmumin Giwa
It is now glaringly clear, the assertion by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN, that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI “sworn-in” by the Kaduna state government to inquire into the December 2015 Zaria massacre was a plan to not only to soften the crime against humanity committed by its perpetrators but to also indict the IMN and its leadership.
Going through the report submitted by the commission to the Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai as recently made public, one would have no reason to doubt the earlier assertion by the IMN.
It is unfortunate that such caliber of individuals involved in the commission would keep aside their integrity and choose to doctor justice in such a way that they could deceive the public to make them see justice to have been done when they are clearly biased, unjust and unfair.
Firstly, the JCI lacks credibility to make any reliable report with stories only concocted from just one side while the other was deliberately frustrated form being listened to.
It was clear from day one that there was no intention by the JCI and its masters of hearing from the side of IMN because of the following:
– The JCI never invited or even attempted to invite the prime victim of the Zaria massacre, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky to come and make his own submission before it. It were his followers that were killed, three of his sons killed at gunpoint, his wife shot severally, his sister burned alive by the Army and himself shot fatally as well. It was also his house that was burned down his Islamic center demolished and the tomb of his mother also destroyed. He is also the one in illegal detention without trial.
– All the JCI was interested in was a third-party submission from the side of the IMN and not from the primary victims themselves and not from the leader himself.
– There are about 200 member of the IMN abducted by the Nigerian Army after the massacre and handed over to the Kaduna state government via Nigerian Police, for further persecution, that are also being kept in illegal detention with made-up charges to justify their continued detention in Kaduna Central Prison.
– Those in Kaduna prison are a composition of those arrested at the scenes of the Army attack on the IMN as well as those arrested by the Nigeria Police who killed 15 more members of the IMN at Tudun Nufawa in Kaduna for protesting against the Zaria massacre on the 15th of December 2015. The commission entirely looked away from this crime as well.
– Despite the fact that the Kaduna state government was the one doctoring the JCI, it refused to bring these primary victims before the commission to hear their sides of the story.
– In an investigation on a said “clash” between Army and IMN, no soldier was arrested and kept in detention and in fact even the claimed arrests resulted from the abduction of IMN members by the Army and the subsequent handover to the state government.
– The composition of the commission itself was a hoax, made with bias and ulterior-motives and the government even refused to listen to calls from different quarters to adjust the composition of the commission. The commission was made up of only government and Army representatives while the IMN and the independent human rights organizations were not represented.
– Top above everything was the deliberate indictment of the IMN and its leadership by the Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai when he was announcing the commission. The governor labeled unsubstantiated accusations on the Movement describing his sense of bias.
These and many more issues have debunked the claim by the commission that it had given the IMN all the chances to come before it but it refused. It is also clear that it had no intention of listening to the IMN at all.
Despite all these shortcomings, the commission went into business and hundreds of sponsored monotonous submissions were made before the commission.
Secondly, the JCI was very tricky and hypocritical in describing the incident as “clash” between Army and the IMN instead of an attack on IMN by the Nigerian Army. This is deliberate in order to set the mind of the public away from questioning why the attack.
It was just a normal day like any other day at the Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah when all of a sudden troops of armed soldiers were brought to the frontage of the Hussainiyya along with cartons of ammunitions suggesting that something was going to happen. The soldiers intimidated those present at the Hussainiyya by their presence.
The commission falsely claimed in their report that the convoy of the Chief of Amy Staff COAS drove into a gathering of IMN members who have blocked the road and were having a flag hoisting event. Actually, the flag hoisting event at that time had not started as it was due to hold later in the evening and attendants were yet to be present.
Those present at the Husainiyya were children having some study sessions, their teachers and some members decorating the venue for the event and a few other people that have arrived earlier for the coming event. More so, everyone was inside the Hussainiyyat and the outside was clear because only a few people were outside.
Even before the arrival of the COAS some of those present at the Hussainiyya appealed to the heavily armed soldiers to move further away from the location because there was going to be an event and would not be suitable for them to be there. The army shot at and killed some of the member there and then.
It was this shooting that attracted those inside Hussainiyyat outside and not that there was any event taking place there at that particular time. Those they showed on the video clip they presented before the commission to prove that they were blocked by the IMN members carrying sticks and machetes were actually brought to the scene by the soldiers for false flag operation. The IMN never blocked any road as falsely insinuated by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry
The commission didn’t bother to verify the veracity of the edited video clip which they accepted as evidence but never showed how the soldiers made their way through killing human beings like ants.
It was this killing that the COAS accepted to have spare-headed to make his way through claiming that he killed only seven IMN members.
Latter after about three hours the Army returned with a large scale attack killing everybody present at the scene and taking away the dead bodies and all that followed.
On the issue of clash between the army and the IMN claimed by the commission and repeatedly mentioned the report, there is a contradiction because the commission still says that the presumed arms for which a cordon and search operation was ordered were not found with the IMN members. Which arms did the members used in clashing with the Army? This shows that the commission didn’t bother to inquire into any issue of clash but is mischievously submitting that there were clashes between Army and IMN.
The commission agreed that the mass burial in which 347 IMN members were buried to cover up the crime against humanity violated the Geneva Convention, the state laws as well as the Islamic laws. But the same commission ignored making any recommendations as to the fate of the victims. The commission also refused to issue any recommendations on the perpetrators of the illegal mass burial.
It is not surprising anyway because they were contracted by the major perpetrator of the crime and Governor of the state.
Those in the mass graves have relations and loved ones that need to pay befitting burials on their loved ones as a matter of rights. There should have been recommendations on exhuming the corpses, determining the cause of death, and handed back to their loved ones.
We believe the commission is avoiding anything that will implicate its master the state Governor because those buried were not actually confirmed dead but were assumed dead. Some of them might be with only bullet wounds and were not dead, some even without wounds but traumatized to coma due to the wild manner with which the Amy attacked them. There is most likelihood that a lot were buried alive but the commission overlooked it and pretended noting happened.
The commission in its report clearly stated that the IMN generates its resources by itself. Mischievously, it went ahead to indict the IMN claiming that it is widely speculated that the IMN is being funded from outside and even went ahead to recommend to that the government should investigate the sources of foreign funds of the Movement. There is no evidence and no poof and yet there is indictment, one wonders what they are up to.
The commission also indicted the movement claiming that it is not a registered organization with the Corporate Affairs Commission. This to me is not just funny but stupid. Where in the laws of this land is it stated that one has to register with the CAC to practice his faith. The IMN is not an organization, we are simply Muslims and all Muslims are brothers as stated in the Qur’an. There is no such law that says one has to register before he prays, fasts, or conducts any of his religious activities.
It is even because the IMN is not an organization that it has no offices like secretary, treasurer chairman, auditor and the rest, we are simply Muslims practicing Islam, that’s all. Yes, there are aspects of the Movement that are duly registered with the CAC as they are required to by law. The Al-Mizan newspaper of the Movement, the Shuhada Foundation of the Movement, Islamic Medical Association of the Movement ISMA and others are all duly registered with the CAC. This further debunks the unsubstantiated claims by the JCI that the movement is not law abiding.
Talking about indictments of individuals in the JCI report, it would be observed that the General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army Major General Adeniyi Oyebade that headed the said cordon and search operation that led to the incessant killings of the IMN members was indicted. He is said to have violated the Army rules of Engagements. Yet it is clear to every sane person that he could not have acted on his own volition without orders from his COAS and his Commander-in-Chief and yet the report of the commission ignored that.
The report clearly avoided indicting the Nigerian President, the Kaduna state Governor and the COAS for crimes against humanity as a way of probably helping them out with their case in The Hague.
Mischievously again the JCI report went further to search for how to paint the leader of the IMN Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky black. It accused him of refusing to stop the IMN members from blocking the Army convoy being the only one that could stop them. This was based on the claims by the Army that they contacted him and he refused to act.
The commission never confirmed this claim from the IMN leader but has placed it in its report with the intention of indicting him simply because his supposed opponents say so. This is most unprofessional and a threat to justice and fairness.
This is just a brief from the entire report that looks more like prepared to indict the IMN and not to inquire into the injustice, inhumanity and impunity impounded on it.