By Abdulmumin Giwa
I write this piece in response to an editorial of the Friday 22 April edition of the Daily Trust newspaper titled ‘Shocking Revelations of Army/Shi’ites clash’ where the IMN is called upon to participate in the JCI and possibly defend itself from what the paper sees as ‘shocking revelations’.
In my response I have provided reasonable facts that would deter anybody in the shoes of the IMN from even going anywhere close to the JCI.
The Kaduna state government had established a Judicial Commission of Inquiry JCI under Justice Muhammad Lawal Garba to look into what it termed the Army/Shi’ite clash of 12th to 14th December 2015.
In the process of announcing his intention to set up the commission, the state Governor Nasir El-Rufai, indicted the Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN accusing it of blocking roads during its events, taking over primary school for a night during its annual trekking to Zaria, and also owning illegal buildings.
This indictment came after over 350 to 400 members of the IMN have either been shot dead, burned alive or women raped by Nigerian soldiers, with victims mass buried in the night as reports of investigation by the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Islamic Human Rights Commission of London have shown.
Every right thinking person would have expected the commission to center its inquiry on the brutal killings due to the number of persons said to have been killed by the Nigerian Army during the incident. Instead the commission was set on a different agenda.
It was expected to over-look the brutal killings, mass burial, rape, human right abuse, use of excessive strength by the Army on unarmed civilians and indiscriminate murder of men women and children perpetrated by the Nigerian Army on the IMN.
This is evident in the terms of reference given to the commission that was only interested in knowing the historical evolution of the IMN and its source of finances.
It is clear from here that the Governor, El-Rufai, was only interested in justifying the genocide on members of the IMN as well as founding a cover-up for his crime against humanity having been fully involved in the massacre and not extracting the truth.
The composition of the commission is also made up of representatives from all parties to the said clash except the IMN. It is also garnished with sectarian sentiments as some known arch-enemies of the IMN who have in the past not only called for the extermination of the Shi’ites but have written books spreading lies and calumny against the IMN.
A call was made to that effect by the IMN that fell on deaf ears. The IMN went as far as mentioning names of those who have for long shown enmity and hatred towards the IMN that were placed in the commission and also called on the government to establish an independent inquiry that must include reputable human rights organizations like the Amnesty International and others as well as representatives of the IMN.
It now becomes clear that the JCI was not set to resolve the matter and make reasonable suggestions in its outcome but to indict, condemn and demonize the IMN.
Despite this, the IMN made efforts by allowing its lawyers to go to the commission to state these facts and others in order to untie the knots. This led to five adjournments of the JCI sittings without any success. All the JCI was interested in was for the IMN to submit a memo in order to establish its integrity and not to investigate the killings.
In event of the Nigerian Army attack on the Gyallesu residence of the leader of the Movement Sheikh IIbraheem Zakzaky, he was shot severally at gun point, his three sons were murdered by the soldiers as he watched, his wife was shot severally some compounds in his house were set ablaze by the Army and some of his followers including his senior sister were burned alive and he was finally abducted and kept incommunicado without proper healthcare despite his condition.
As a result of this inhumanity by the Nigerian government and its Army as well as the Kaduna state Governor, the lawyers of the Movement demanded that access be allowed to the leader of the Movement to get briefs from him if IMN is to be represented.
Secondly, the lawyers argued that Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is the sole custodian of the Movement and its documents, and should be allowed to lead the Movement to the JCI as do other parties involved including the soldiers and the government. They declined to this simple reasoning as well insisting that he be represented by a third-party.
Where is justice when the leader of the IMN that was attacked and shot severally is kept incommunicado and an inquiry is set disallowing him to give his own account?
More so, the Kaduna state government went round and mobilized all opponents and enemies of the Islamic Movement to submit memos before the JCI indicting the Movement, with some even sponsored, which is evident in the monotonous presentations made by those that have so far been cross-examined by the JCI.
They have also used journalists that have compromised their profession to report lies from the commission and over-look anything said in favor of the IMN. Notably amongst this is the way the media pretended not to have heard anything from Prof. Tahir Yahya who was cross examined for three hours as they reported the calumny by Prof. Abdullahi Mahdi who hardly spent thirty minutes before the JCI.
Asking why the IMN would not go before the ‘kangaroo commission’ has its answer in the following questions:
Why is the commission not independent?
Why have Shi’ites not been represented in the Commission?
Why is there no reputable human rights organization involved in the inquiry?
Why is the commission established by the Kaduna state government not the federal government?
Nasir El-rufai indicted the IMN before setting the commission if he knew the IMN was already guilty why establish the commission?
Why was there partiality in the appointment of commissioners who were carefully selected?
How could the state governor whose hands are stained with the blood of members of the IMN institute a commission to indict him of crimes against humanity?
Why is the commission not interested in hearing from the leader of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, being the person who was attacked by the Army?
Is Sheikh Zakzaky not under government custody? Why are they afraid of hearing his version of the story?
Why is the commission only interested in listening to a third-party from the side of the movement and not from Sheikh Zakzaky, the direct victim of the whole saga?
From what is transpiring in the commission, why has it derailed from inquiring into the incessant killings by the Nigerian Army and is only concentrating on issues of Shi’a and Sunna?
The commission has failed to raise questions on the killing and mass burying of 347 IMN members even after the Secretary to the State Government, SSG has shockingly revealed the secret as though those killed and mass buried were ants and not human beings simply because they are Shi’ites why?
The Kaduna state government is detaining close to 200 members of the IMN in Kaduna Central Prison abducted during the pogrom. It had also filed cases against them before court claiming that they were guilty of illegal assembly, possession of firearms, culpable homicide and others, what is the inquiry for since they are already guilty and charged to court?
Why did the lawyers of the commission lie to Sheikh Zakzaky when they met him in detention that they were independent lawyers instead of telling him the truth that they were representing the commission?
The answers to these questions are not farfetched; the reason for the commission is not to inquire into the killing but is part of the killing. It is to be used after the massacre to indict and demonize the movement. It is to be used to ban the IMN by associating it with violence which it is not. It is to be used to cover the crimes against humanity committed by the government and it’s Army from the eyes of the world and to justify the genocide.
More so, the commission is not after the submission of the IMN because it wants to be just and fair, but is simply after raising its integrity so that it can produce a final report that will have dignity in the eyes of the public. The commission is set out to crucify the IMN and not to inquire into the genocide which already it is not doing.
Is it this commission that you want the IMN to go to?