By Ibrahim Usman
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) says it will seek all legal avenues and employ all legal mechanisms to ensure the law takes its rightful course over the people killed by the Nigerian military in Zaria on the International Quds Day procession, which took place on July 25.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Chidi Anselem Odinkalu made the pledge when he led team from the Commission on condolence visit to Sheikh Zakzaky, whose 3 children were among those killed during the incident.
Professor Odinkalu said, as citizens of one nation people have the right to exist, their lives and property protected irrespective of creed or ethnic inclination. “We are all children of one country and one Nigeria. None of us chose to be here, but we are all planted here by God for a reason. No parent wants to lose three children at a time. These children could be children of every parent. But it got to a point in this country where losing people no longer matters, where young people can die and nobody cares”.
He assured that the NHRC will ensure justice is done without undue interference from any quarters, as vanguards of citizens in their demand for justice and fair play.
The team prayed God to repose the souls of those killed and give Sheikh the fortitude and strength to bear the irreparable loss in order to carry on his mission of guiding humanity.
Responding Sheikh Zakzaky said, 34 people were killed and 106 injured, as one man was recently discovered to have been secretly buried by his family, adding that there could be more. “They indiscriminately and sporadically shot at everyone and everything, including nearby banks and shops, smashed cars”, he added.
He also said, it was also realized that the soldiers used special tiny bullets on the protesters that were not easily detected during first aid treatment on the injured.
He said, an announcement had already been made that any person injured and discharged from hospital, should go back for cross examination.
He lamented over the non-response or public statement from the government since the after incident, but only series of denials by the Nigerian Military.
He however said, the President had called him 24 days after to say how sorry he was. “You don’t commit murder and say sorry. If that is the case, there is no need for legislation. Whenever one commits a crime, all he needs to do is to say sorry. Why do we have the police, courts and prisons? These murderers are known. I am not blaming the whole military, but I know the killers. They are individuals who answer names. I know their commander is Lieutenant Colonel S. O. Oku, he personally shot all my children. He stamped on their bodies and stabbed them with knives. This is clearly a crime committed”.
Sheikh Zakzaky said it is only when criminals are punished for the crime they committed that the society acknowledges that a crime was truly committed. “My children were identified as my children before they were tortured to death. This is a crime. I can’t imagine how callous and cruel one can be to murder three children simply because he hates their father. They have done nothing”.
He also said, the Islamic Movement has course to rejoice over what happened to its members, as they were killed on the path of God. “You as a Christian believed that Jesus Christ was killed for no offence, but just because he was good. This had been the fate of all good people, such as the Prophets. This is a certificate on our own little way that these people were good, but the corrupt society feels that we should not exist”.
According to Sheikh Zakzaky, the perpetrators of the dastardly act had wanted to isolate the Islamic Movement so that people would hate them, but instead the people rallied round it with unimagined sympathy. “This why they are referring to us as “Shi’ite Sect”. We are never a sect, and will never be one. I personally do not recognize a sect; we have never called ourselves a sect. we have never been a sect and will never be. All my life, I never even recognized a sect”.
He pointed out that, it has become obvious that they have created a faceless and anonymous sect called “Boko Haram” which, “We have never seen a Boko Haram member, nor their schools, mosques or newspapers. All we hear of them are bomb blasts and videos issuing threat of attack, promoted by the government as the only source of information”, he said.
Sheikh Zakzaky thanked the NRC for the visit and the concern shown.
He said, the Movement would not fold its arms and accept what happened without any effort, but will seek redress through the right channel to the last minute.