By Abdulmumin Giwa
Recipients of the annual gifts of Ramadan food items from Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in Gyallesu, Zaria were on Tuesday attacked by thugs carrying machetes, sharp object and sticks where they seized the items and litter the streets with them.
The food items include maize, corn, sugar and rice which are annually distributed to the needy among the Sheikh’s neighbors in Gyallesu and other places in Zaria at the inception of every month of Ramadan.
The Sheikh has done this annually for the past 20 years and more with the number of recipients rising annually due to persistent rising economic difficulties in the country.
One of the members of the IMN committee that distributes the food items annually, Musa Muhammad Tahir explained that on Tuesday the thugs attacked those distributing the food items pelting them with stones and shouting “bamu so” meaning “we don’t want” and they left the two vans containing food items for safety.
The thugs came with their machetes and sticks and litter the whole place with the food item on the vans and forced the recipients to submit the items they received to them or risk being harmed which they did and the entire food was scattered everywhere along Banadeen Street.
As if it was not enough, the thugs attacked the residence of the Sheikh’s sister, Hajiya Maimuna Yakubu along Sarkin Yaki Street where they threatened and beat her, trespass the house and brought out all her food items and litter the street with them as well.
IMN members immediately alerted the police Assistant Commissioner in Zaria and the Police Commissioner in Kaduna. The police escorted them and watched while they took Hajiya Maimiuna away to safety.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna Police Command SP Abubakar said in a telephone conversation that he needs to confirm from the Zaria Area Command before he could say anything on the matter.
The Police were said to have made some arrests at the Gyallesu area but the suspects were immediately released without any investigation into the incident which suggests government’s likely involvement.
Further investigation into the matter revealed that the incident was incited from two Izala sect mosques close to Gyallesu who announced that the IMN members were sharing poisoned food items to avenge the killing of their members by the Army and thugs in December last year.
Haruna Danja Mosque near Kongo in Zaria was said to be the venue of the meeting that organized the thugs into action in order not to allow the people receive food assistance from Sheikh Zakzaky lest they support or incline to him.
A cleric speaking in another Izala sect mosque along Mangwaron Andi Street in Gyallesu was heard calling on the people through the mosque’s loudspeakers not to accept the food items from the Sjhi’ites because it is poisoned and intended to kill people in revenge of the December killing of their members.
The same messages were seen on the social media being posted by members of the Izala sect without mentioning their sources of information as to the food items being poisoned by the IMN. The sharing of the food item had been on since Monday before it was attacked on Tuesday with no reports of anyone dying after eating the food.
It would be recalled that the same thugs were used by the soldiers to scavenge heap of corpses of IMN members killed by soldiers during the December attack where they stole personal possessions from the dead bodies.
Malam Abdullahi an Islamic teacher with students was one of the recipients attacked by the thugs who insulted and threaten describing him as a hypocrite for collecting food items from Sheikh Zakzaky. Malam Umar residing along Sarkin Yaki Street suffered the same fate with Mallam Abdullahi as the thugs seized the food items and litter the road with them.
With recipients getting between two to four bags each depending on the numbers of their family members, those that are yet to receive the items are still calling on the committee to give them and if they could not come they should tell them where to go and receive their own.
Generality of people have condemned the uncivilized act by the thugs and their sponsors as precious food items were left scattered on the streets while the needy are left in hunger and hardship that has overlapped the entire country under the current regime.
Meanwhile distribution of food items to the needy has continued today for the third day in a row and more people are begging to receive the food assistance to alleviate the difficulties in these hard times.