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Who is Afraid of Sheikh Zakzaky

It is about 100 days since the Zaria massacre by the Nigerian Army where hundreds of innocent lives have been lost to the bullets  of the government that is supposed to protect its citizens.

The shallow minded military intelligence that planned and carried out the genocide surprisingly failed to cook up a palpablereason for theassault. The claim that members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky wanted to assassinate the chief of Army staff lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has since been dismissed as untenable by simplest means of reasoning. How could armless civilians attempt to murder the whole chief of Army staff moving in a convoy of military arsenal? At what point in the history of the IMN has it attempted to murder any one talkless of an Army General? How does the claim tally with the orderly manner in which IMN has been known to conduct its affairs and in what way could it have helped the members of IMN achieve their objective of conducting their lives according to the tenets of Islam? Surely who ever fabricated that allegation must be either dull or sick in the head or both.

Now on the killings, one wonders what could have justifiedthe merciless actions of the military. Suppose it is true that the members of IMN “attempted” to murder the Army chief, what is supposed to be the punishment for attempted murder and what are the procedures set by the Nigerian constitution in dealing with case of attempted murder? What brought about the hundreds of armed military with all sort of warfare weapons? The simplest and most gullible mind will know that it was a premediated attack conceived and carried out on IMN.

After the killings at Husainiyya, the blood thirsty military proceeded to the residence of Sheikh Ibraheem at Gellesu to accomplish their mission of killing him. Hundreds of sincere and devoted disciples stood by their master until all have been killed or taken by the Army. What followed next was the unconceivable destruction of all the landed properties of IMN including grave yards.

The Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai went ahead to address the state on the Zaria massacre. El-Rufai in his speech accused and prosecuted Sheikh Zakzaky for what he termed “running a parallel government” and promised to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the Zaria attack.

The thirteen man commission was inaugurated and swung in to action. The IMN has right from inception of the committee expressed its reservation on the membership, especially on three of the members who are known to be sincere enemies of Shiism and IMN and the deliberate exclusion of any member of IMN to serve in the panel of inquiry despite the fact that the Nigerian Military that carried out the crimes is visibly represented.

It is about five weeks since the commission has had its first sitting and has been characterized by shifting “to enable counsel to IMN have access to their client”. It is obvious that the commission has no power to order the state apparatus to allow the lawyers of IMN have access to Sheikh despite its command for four or five consecutive times.

Now, let us ask this question “who is afraid of Zakzaky”. A fair play will demand the presence of Sheikh Zakzaky at the tribunal to tell the world his stories of how he was attacked and short severally, how his three children were killed in cold blood before him. The Sheikh should be there to tell the world what degrees of injuries he sustained. It will be equally interesting to hear from him the colossal loss of properties he was made to bear. The historic library with rare collection of books, some of which he inherited from his grandparents that have been destroyed and the ruminants sold out by the Army deserves the audience of the world.

The mission of the IMN will best be understood from the spiritual leader and guide. The various allegations of running a state within a state or running a parallel government or “harassing” his neighbors will best be addressed by the revered Sheikh. So why is the government preventing him from making appearance to defend his case or at least have access to his lawyers. Even in the stories of animal kingdoms courts are run and fair hearing is granted, so why should Nigeria, a democratic nation for that matter fail to grant audience to Sheikh Zakzaky?

When the episodes of Prophet Moses (as) and Pharaoh were mentioned in the Quran, it was reported that when Pharaoh felt challenged by Prophet Moses (as), he did not only ask him (Prophet Moses) to select a day that people will gather around so that he (Pharaoh) and Prophet Moses (as) will bare their proofs to the public to decide who is telling the truth against the lair but Prophet Moses (as) should also select a convenient time. Prophet Moses (as) chose the day of grand festival of their community and selected day time shortly before noon for the public debate.

If a dictator such as Pharaoh can be so democratic to allow open contest with his opponents what is the big deal in a country with democratic government in allowing Sheikh Zakzaky present this case to the public like Prophet Moses did. Indeed before the assembly day selected by Prophet Moses, Pharaoh sent in to different parts of his country as at then to select and gather the most assorted magicians of the time, because he considered Prophet Moses (as) a magician. If the government of Nigeria is to be asked where are your assorted scholars and professors that hold various degrees in Islamic studies, law, philosophy, logic and semantics? Can’t you put up a team of these professionals and bring before them the severely wounded Sheikh so that they can cross examine him on Shiism and why he has been calling on Muslims to live as Muslims and implement Islam in their entire lives? They may also query him for shunning oppression and oppressors and abhorring injustice. Similarly he could be made to explain why he does not compromise his principles and why he has never been seen in the corridors of government houses for worldly materials? They may as well ask him what makes him so firm and consistent on his call that has earned him over nine years in different jails of the past governments in addition to losing his six children to the Nigerian government’s bullets. I for one and believe many Nigerians and beyond will look forward to the day Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky will be made to answer these questions.

Bolaji Abdulhakeem

Concerned Muslims Group of Nigeria