“I wish I am present here with you so that I also learn from other people before I give my own contribution, but all the same; I congratulate you for having gathered today on a very important issue in human life–and that is human rights. No doubt, human beings are bound to live together, and living together makes it necessary for them to have laws and rules and regulations that will govern their lives.
“The most fundamental of all the rights is the right to life (it is the right of every individual who finds himself alive). No-one can take away his life unless in a due process of law–meaning, if he has taken away the life of someone then it is a matter of necessity that his life also should be taken. Otherwise, no-one’s life should be taken.
“This right to life, including other rights, is enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, which those in authority always swear to protect. They swear in holy books they believe in (the holy Qur’an, and the Bible). Alas, we find in present society today right to life is actually taken away. Those in authority think that they have the right to take the life of anyone at any moment. Extrajudicial killings have become an order of the day. Instruments of law enforcement that are employed to protect the law are now being used (by those in authority) to violate the law.
“Men in uniform are sent to unleash terror on people–soldiers, policemen and secret police, who do not wear uniforms. In fact, nowadays, they even wear terrorist garments–meaning, they hide their own faces in the same way terrorists do. The state has become an instrument of terrorism, that it has taught the people to be violent! People have been forced, due to circumstances, to become violent, because the state has become violent.
“We are talking about rights. We have to understand that this society can never be in order unless those in authority respect the rights of other people. Those in authority think they are the law (or rather) above the law, that they can take the life of anybody at any moment. They care about no amount of talk, preaching or advice; they don’t simply care. They are indifferent to what happens to other people.
“See what is happening now in this society in which everybody seems to be in a state of fear, including those in authority of course, because they would never have peace if other people are not in peace as well! So, the most important right which everybody must protect is the right to life. You don’t have the right to take the lives of others; you don’t even have the right to take your own life–nobody has the right to commit suicide. You don’t have the right to commit abortion; because, if your mother had aborted you, you would not have been alive. Nobody has the right to take the life of anybody!
“Similarly, there is the right of environment, there is the right of all the living creatures, including animals; they have rights! The dead also have rights–the right to be honored after their death with funeral that is in accordance with their own laws and cultures.
“But, nowadays, you can see, those in authority think that they can kill and even burn the bodies or take them to an unknown destination and bury them in mass grave. The Zaria Massacre which happened six years ago is a case in question, where in three days the Nigerian Army cordoned the city of Zaria, including all the routes leading to the city, murdered over one thousand people and took all their bodies and bury them in different mass graves. On top of this, they arrested about five hundred people for alleged “murder” of one soldier. Of course, all the courts have discharged and acquitted all those they had arraigned before them.
“See how those in authority want to wipe out even the evidence about the atrocity they have committed. This was the first step this administration took, and you can see, subsequently, how wanton killings become the order of the day. Now people are living in perpetual fear everywhere. You can not murder others and expect yourself to stay in peace. They have (by committing Zaria Massacre) already murdered peace!
“We need to rethink a future. Some people were asking me, is there any bright future for this country? I say, there is! We are not living in a hopeless society. Certainly there is a hope, but the hope has to lie in the people, not those in authority. We have no confidence in those in authority, because they are indifferent to what happens to the society. But the people have to rise up and urge for a better future for our society. We hope in the near future things may change for the better–that is our hope.”
“And may Allah help all of us. Thank you very much.”
The above remarks stand as a culmination of the program with the theme, Zaria Massacre: a Turning Point in Confronting Crimes against Humanity, in which three speakers delivered their lectures on varied topics.
The first speaker, Prof I. H. Mshelgaru of Building Department, Faculty of Environmental Design, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, spoke and elucidated on, Facts and Figures on Women and Children Brutalized by the Nigerian Army.
The second speaker, Ruhi Rizvi, a UK-based human rights activist, unraveled and made clear and comprehensible, An Overview of International Reactions on Zaria Massacre.
Then, the third speaker in person of Prince Deji Adeyanju, a convener from Concerned Nigeria, a human rights organization, delivered his talk on Strategies in Challenging Crimes against Humanity.
On: 12th December, 2021.