By Faruk Nadama
As the proceedings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry instituted by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the December 2015 massacre in Zaria draws to an end, the very big question at the moment is the possible/likely outcome of the Commission. This is arising from some germane issues, viz:
-The boycott of the Commission by Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) for perceived lack of credibility and potentials of fear hearing resulting from lopsided and anomalous composition of the Commission;
-The genuine calls by the IMN and other right groups and individuals for the release of the leader of the Movement Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) to among other reasons enable him as a precondition to lead the Movement to appear before the Commission;
-Denial of authorities to accede to the numerous calls as aforementioned for reason best known to them; and
-The array of events that transpired before the Commission, etc.
As far as Sheikh Zakzaky in particular and IMN at large, the Kaduna JCI has brought so many issues into the limelight including but not limited to exposition of arc enemies of the Movement, shameless liars in the name of ulamas/religious groups and other important issues like self/public confession/admission of what since the advent of the Zaria Massacre IMN have been saying but disgruntled elements of the society have been vehemently rejecting. Be it the issue of IMN being armless, a foreign country sponsorship/financier ship, or the fact that our martyred brothers and sisters were buried in mass graves but people were falsifying.
All of these were beyond doubts proven to be in tandem with how IMN have portrayed them. One good example is the fact that being a rear opportunity availed by the JCI to calumny campaigners against the IMN, if anybody had a verifiable proof that IMN receives its financing from the Islamic Republic of Iran, such person would have came forth with it. Alas, what we saw was repeated rhetoric that IMN was being financed by Iran but no proof. I recalled one laughing stock who said he did not have any proof, but it is very clear that they are being financed by Iran. One wonders of a clarity without proof! Many other groups although having certain grudges with IMN including one security agent, could not but to concur with our position of the fact that Sheikh Zakzaky’s movement never relied upon talk less of received funding from anyone other than the members who willingly contribute pennies towards running of the Movement.
If one is to x-ray various angles of the JCI’s proceedings, it would yield volumes, but limiting the scope of this piece to the chosen topic, I intend to look at the likely outcome of what some view as a drama scene. Not because it is considered as such per say, but for obvious reasons some of which are entrenched in historic antecedents. There is a notable syndrome in this country as I once heard qualified by a brother Muhammad Shehu who told me he first heard it from Mallam (Zakzaky, H). Meet Discuss Disperse (MDD), is a syndrome to be literally translated in Hausa as ‘‘Taron Shan Shayi’’.
Could all the revelations ensued at JCI as incriminating as there were; end up at Taron Shan Shayi? Or, could what was perceived by many be the ultimate outcome, which is to act an already prepared script aimed at proscribing the Islamic Movement in Nigeria? Going by the antecedents, it would not in any way surprise many if the outcome becomes the former. History had it that in Nigeria reports of panels and commissions such as this are never implemented. From on set, reasons of setting up the panels/commissions are more often than not arising from the need to douse down tensions, portray the governments as being up and doing and in some respects to witch-hunt/malign some perceived enemies/opponents. At the end of it you see the reports being kept in abeyance or half-way/lopsidedly implemented.
Corroboratively, we remember the late Justice Chukwudipu Oputa led Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission (Oputa Panel) of June, 1999 whose findings were not even publicly published talk more of implemented till date. A former Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya was reported by the Nig. Tribune newspaper calling on the then Jonathan administration to publish and implement the findings of the Uputa Panel.
Under the same Obasanjo regime, there was the controversial National Political Reform Conference of 2006 as well as the National CONFAB of 2014 convened by the Good Luck Jonathan administration. Till date, the volumes upon volumes of their reports are out of the knowledge of the Nigerian citizens.
Similarly, in Nigeria there had been numerous inquiries arising from ethno-religious crises which always fizzle away with the fall down of the tensions they ensue. It is thus evidently clear that the MDD syndrome may still apply to the inquiry of the Zaria carnage. After all, before the constitution of JCI to ‘‘investigate’’ the program, other institutions/organisations like the two chambers of the National Assembly (NASS) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) began investigation, albeit due to the prevailing tension viz-a-viz their attempt to demonstrate that they are up and doing arising from calls/concerns by rights groups to that effect. Various media outlets reported it but nothing appeared to have come out of both. I have not seen or heard of either arms of the NASS even presented their findings at plenary while the only thing NBA said was that the investigation had just begun, the rest of it was left to imagination.
On the other hand, arising from what I partly bulleted in my opening paragraph, many people thought and still think despite the mind boggling revelations before the Commission which are enough evidence to not only cleanse IMN of all that was levelled against it to pave way for the highly avoidable butchery, but to also warrant an open apology, adequate compensation and commendation to the IMN. However, going by antecedents and expectations of many, the JCI might end up (if at all something will come out of the session) act the predesigned script of the powers that be whose ultimate aim is to either crush, or officially proscribe the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
It has been the wishful thinking of the successive Nigerian regimes to either ‘‘nib-in-the-bud’’ as some often call it, or proscribe the IMN whose growing influence and domineering spate has not only been overwhelming over the years, but a serious cause for fret. JCI Kaduna as perceived by many could have been set up to derive that mission.
Nevertheless, few people were tempted by the revelations before the Commission to expect that the IMN would eventually come out clean for no farfetched reasons. Contingent upon the way Nigerian Army and other security agencies gave contradicting testimonies ranging to the serious indicting revelations by the Kaduna State government coupled with the inability of most if not all of the sponsored elements/groups to factualize their incriminating claims against the Movement, one would ordinarily expect nothing short of IMN coming out clean.
This happened to be the expectation of few people who thinks that the gravity of the atrocities meted on Sheikh Zakzaky and his disciples as exposed at the Commission cannot just be skewed away. But little did they know that when it comes to IMN, no quantum of malignation is worth fair dealing.
Now that the curiosities are heightened amongst different parties ‘‘onlookers’’ alike, the outcome is long awaited. Very many people are anxious to see that JCI recommends not only IMN be officially banned, but further pandemonium unleashed on its members.
As for the Islamic Movement, we least expect justice in its iota from those who claim neutrality of what they were actually culpable of. Kaduna State government, the convener of the Commission is highly accomplice, the Nigerian Army is directly culpable while the central administration of the country to say the least bears the ultimate responsibility; enough blames to apportion around. Similarly, the family members of the Sheikh Zakzaky appeared to have lost hope of getting justice from whatever investigation is conducted by the Nigerian government. This is as evidenced in the interview granted to press by the Sheikh’s elder brother Sheikh Abdulkadir Ya’qoub Ali who said they have left everything to the Master of the Day of Judgement.
It is however the integrity of Justice Lawal Garba who was advised to render justice by Professor Dahiru Yahaya and Sheikh Hamza Lawal and in line with the oath him and his panellists took that has greatly been put at stake. On Justice Garba’s person, some friends told me he is known for integrity among the circle of Appeal Court’s adjudicants. That is a mere compliment anyway.
I am essentially pointing that those of us who are angling that since the JCI has ultimately exposed that Sheikh Zakzaky and IMN has been persecuted, the official outcome of the Commission must surely be in favour of IMN, may need to have a rethink.
Arising from the foregoing, it should be noted that whatever becomes the outcome of the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry, it will not change the realities of things that had happened. JCI could avail the bloodthirsty Nigerian Army and its accomplices the opportunity to even do worst things, but would never succeed in diminishing the prospect of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria not to talk of crushing it completely. Accordingly, it is noteworthy that no human judgement that is immune from appeal; therefore, Justice Muhammad Lawal Garba’s JCI should note that their judgement is subject to a revisit either here or hereafter.
Be that as it may, our strength is our firm belief in our creator the Omnipotent unto Whom we cry for justice; our great source for comfort is the Holy Prophet and his pious progeny all of whom went through the worst situations, our solace is the inevitability of the day of reckoning, our assurance is the Holy Qur’an which narrated to us the usual end to all mayhem perpetrators. Our message is enshrined in the history which had it that no ideology was ever successfully conquered by might and force.
Peace be unto those who follow the right path.
Free our brothers;
We demand for Justice.