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Two Years After Zaria Massacre and the Continued Search for Justice

By Mahdi Garba
A day like this will remain one that can never be forgotten. Despite the press releases by Media Forum of the Islamic Movement and Amnesty International, radio jingles by Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee that have gone viral on local and international media outlets, I still feel indebted to thank Mark Zuckerberg for coming up with Facebook memory (a feature that helps to remind you about your activities of the platform) — call it an e-dairy if you like. 

Among all the mnemonics I mentioned, Facebook memory seems to do the greatest jobs for.
Just as I wrote in my debut book _Tears of Twelfth December_ which is in the pipeline (to be available in 4-5 years time God’s willing), the story of the 12 December clampdown on the Islamic Movement can never be complete without the mention of the Gabari community. That I traced in the genesis. And that was the job Facebook memory did to me. Yesterday I was notified about the attack on members of the Islamic Movement in Gabari community, outskirt of Zaria, and this morning I was prompted about the first post I made on social media to raise the alarm of Soldiers on a killing spree are sieging Husainiyya Baqiyatullah.
The fallacious BBC Hausa report that claimed members of IMN made an assassination attempt on Lt Gen. TY Buratai’s convoy but was foiled according to them. BBC’s dubious standard throughout these trying times are still fresh in our minds. Everything is on my memoir.
From the siege on IMN’s building to paid reports on the media in a bit to justify their actions to the invasion of Sheikh Zakzaky’s Gyellesu residence, his continued detention, breach of court orders and the unending attacks on it members has clearly shown that it’s a premeditated attack.
Today is 12 December, 2 solid years after the onslaught and nobody is in doubt whether it occurred or not. More than 2000 are affected directly and indirectly. In fact, if you’re a habitat of Northern Nigeria, then, you cannot claim that you don’t know someone who is affected. Either a friend, neighbour, class mate, colleague, business associate and the list goes on. If you don’t then someone close to you do.
This reminds me of a Facebook post I made couple of months ago to mark the posthumous birthday of Dr Mustapha Sa’id who was killed in Gyellesu during the carnage. Surprisingly, a prominent female Nigerian journalist and editor that I have admired since her days in the BBC wrote a short tribute on him in the comment box, which was full of eulogy and prayers to a person that she called her uncle.
Similarly, after the Zaria massacre. My Dad told me a story of a house of a friend and a popular Jos-based Real estate conglomerate (who is now late) when he visited the man after the massacre. While condolence messages were flowing, one of his children who is over 30 years confided that whenever a program about the Islamic Movement, he should please be invited. He told my Dad he felt motivated and optimistic about the movement after he learnt that one of his friends during their days at University of Abuja, Bukhari Bello Jega who was killed alongside his wife and their baby was also a victim of the onslaught.
And many other examples, that would be topic of some days.
Writing about Zaria massacre is a herculean to task especially for those of us that I have first hand information about it. I normally find my self in anguish whenever I tend to write about it or engaging someone who is unwilling to understand me in such discourse.
The injuries this massacre has brought to our lives is not worth forgetting, till hell freeze. The murder of great people I can’t forget, Sheikh Zakzaky’s children that inspired young minds like me not be gullible or staunch supporters but to contribute to the Movement tooth and nail. And their Mum, Malama Zeenatudeen Ibrahim that symbolize resistance to oppressors.
Sheikh Muhammad Turi, Sheikh Mukhtar Sahabi, Sayyid Mustapha Nasidi who defined doggedness and resilience until they their last breath. These pious men joined thousands to give shield to their leader.
On every day like this, remembering Mallam Ibrahim Usman is something I can’t run away from. A man I call a mentor. Amidst commitments he tried to vet my articles before publication. He would always make sure he dots my Is and cross my Ts.
Dedicated youths like Sumayya Isa who always wants to let everyone know she’s older than me by telling them about the delicacies prepared during my naming ceremony can never be forgotten. I am sure that no matter where you are, that your jovial face remains yours. The smile everyone remembers you with.
Brother Bukhari Jega, I want to tell you that the story of your murder was one of the viral-gone in 2015. The memories of visiting our Jos home, our lengthy phone calls, chats on local and international politics are still fresh in our minds. I find your murder more appalling whenever I remember the Buhari you tirelessly campaigned for is the mastermind of the carnage in which you and your family were killed. He’s traversing the globe with your blood around his neck.
I only feel appeased when I remember your bloods are not going in vain. As the Qur’an inform us; verily, those who belie Our Signs and treat them with arrogance, for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle. Thus do We recompense the criminal sinners.” (Quran 7:40)