By Abdulmumin Giwa
“This Movement was not built to this level through abuses or compulsion or acts of brigandage, it can therefore not be defeated through such methods. It was built in divine wisdom, knowledge, conviction and good counsel. As a result, in over the 37 years of its existence people have come to accept it. If anyone has a better argument, he should present it to the people and let them choose.” -Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H)
I am writing this rejoinder in two parts in which this part will subject writing to please the perpetrators of the Zaria massacre to a moral test. It will expose the immorality of writing in defense of murderers and extra-judicial killers.
My attention was drawn by a fellow brother to the above titled article in page 9 of the Nation newspaper of Sunday 10th July 2016 written by Abdulgafar Alabelewe, asking me to go through it because the content is deceiving.
I noticed the piece to be a soft attack on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN and its leadership in what the IMN had since observed as a new trend by the perpetrators of the Zaria massacre. They are highly disturbed by their inhuman acts and crime against humanity which had destroyed the poor remnants of human rights records of the regime and it’s Army across the globe. Hence, they are engaging in sponsoring all sorts of campaigns of calumny against the IMN and its leader in particular. They are doing this both on social media and the pages of newspapers.
I personally expected that as a trained journalist, Abdulgafar would not busy himself writing an article without any substance but calumny and imbalance. I expected him to be more intellectually ordained to raise issues of national interest where the Nigerian government has shot a leader of a group in the country, burned his followers alive, demolished his house, worship places and cemetery, buried 347 of his followers in a mass grave in the middle of the night and abducted the leader for over seven months without any court charges. Professional and not hungry journalists should be pressing the government to present him before a court of law for justice to take its course; they should be pressing the government to check the excesses of the Army who kill people at will.
A blatant abuse of the Nigerian constitution with impunity and total disregard to law and order is the best way to describe what the Nigerian regime had done if it is not referred to as state terrorism.
I thought Abdulgafar was smart enough to question why the Nigerian government is yet to bring up those charges before a court of law after the President himself had declared in public that the leader of the Movement was running a government in a government. What is the government waiting for, why wouldn’t it take him to court if it has such evidence?
Also there isn’t any need for smartness in questioning the government about the outcome of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry, JCI sponsored by the Kaduna State government, another stakeholder of Zaria massacre. Why is the government silent about it?
I expected that as a journalist, Abdulgafar would be inquisitive enough to ask why the Nigerian government after hiding Sheikh Zakzaky away from his legal counsel is coming on the defensive before a court of law to tell the world that it is protecting him with his own consent. This is after earlier announcing to the world reasons it had changed five times why it attacked him one of which is attempting to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff.
What is even more is that Abdulgafar is pretending not to know that the Army had messed itself up in that genocidal attack on Nigerian citizens simply because they are a minority religious group despised by their Commander-in-Chief.
Let me remind Abdulgafar here that after committing what could best be described as an act of state terrorism where innocent unarmed citizens were attacked and terrorized using state machinery, the government is busy trying to justify its actions by all means including sponsoring fake groups and writers to convince the world that the Nigerian Army has the right to kill anybody at will. Therefore murdering the Shi’ites is not a big deal.
I would never want to believe that the Abdulgafar I know is joining these deluded money hungry fools to compromise his pen and integrity, and be feeding his family with “blood money”. For indeed whatever anybody is paid to support the Zaria murderers in whatever way is what we in Nigeria call “blood money”. It is not any different from killing human beings in rituals to make money.
Lest anyone gets deluded by the money they give him, he should remember that in that attack, not less than 1000 innocent unarmed people including men, women and many children were mercilessly killed extra-judicially by the Nigerian Army.
The Army entered Gyallesu chanting anti-Shi’ite slogans and shooting unarmed women and children for crime of being Shi’ites. My own wife and child narrowly escaped the attacked but most of her friends and classmates there were murdered by the Army. They were just there for their two weeks quarterly classes in Islamic jurisprudence. A lot of families were entirely wiped out, hundreds of women and thousands of children were turned into widows and orphans within 48 hour of incessant killings and bombings on the 12th to 14th of December 2016 by the Nigerian regime.
It was even more than just killing, it was a terror laden operation in which the Army molested women and stabbed them with sharp objects on their private parts and with bayonets on their breasts and there were even reported cases of rape. The same Army also burned members of the IMN alive including an elder sister of the leader of the Movement Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
After all these crimes the Army cordoned off the entire places and washed off the blood, picked up all bullets and bomb shell, demolished buildings and packed away the rubbles, took away hundreds of corpses and buried them in mass graves at night, all with the intention of hiding the crime. Why would the government want to hide what it did if it was in the interest of the state?
Despite all these the COAS went to tell the Nigerian Human Rights Commission that he killed only seven people that blocked his way. This is stupid and sarcastic as if those he killed were rats or ants. Why is he hiding the truth if what he commandeered was right?
This even made reputable international human rights organizations like the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch to condemn the Nigerian Government for crimes against humanity asking the government to come clean and even releasing satellite pictures of mass graves. In fact the Islamic Human Rights Commission of London ventured into taking the matter before the International Criminal Court, ICC which has since started its investigations.
To add salt to injury, the Army in a display of inhumanity and animal behavior even gathered thugs and drug addicts to steal personal belongings from the heap of corpses of IMN members they have gathered. This says a lot about the state of the nation and the failure of the government that people are so poverty stricken that they are close to becoming cannibals.
There are pictures and videos of all these atrocities and they have gone viral on social media and the world is witnessing to the extent that the Nigerian President encountered protesters condemning him when he visited London. There were protest marches condemning the Nigerian government in many countries around the world including the UK, US, Canada, India and others. Yet in your position as a journalist your eyes are blocked from seeing the truth in just the same way as the ears of the Nigerian government are blocked from hearing the calls being made by people of conscience from across the globe.
This is just a very brief picture of what one is supporting anytime he writes anything whatsoever to please the perpetrators of the Zaria massacre. How inhuman.
No right thinking journalist with integrity and professionalism would lend his pen to inhumanity, I would not do that because my pen is not for sale. My pen is for dignity and humanity just as it is for fairness and justice to all irrespective of tribe, race and religion.
We know that injustice, tyranny, inhumanity and oppression are all anti-human values that only people of integrity and moral uprightness speak against. To us in the IMN, it is even a religious duty because our master Imam Ali AS tells us that every human being is either your brother in humanity or your brother in faith. Therefore, faith aside the Shi’ites are indeed your brothers in humanity that have been oppressed by the Nigerian leader and his Army. It is then your moral duty to speak against it.