By Abdulmumin Giwa
Response to calumny:
In the second part of this rejoinder, I am going to respond to issues Abdulgafar Alabelewe had raised in his write-up having subjected the writing of the write-up itself to a moral test in the first part of the rejoinder.
Firstly, I will start by correcting the wrong impression given by Abdulgafar that the leader of the Movement was lured into the movement by Iran during his University days. Please go and check your records well. The Islamic Revolution in Iran took place in 1979 after Sheikh Zakzaky had graduated from the university in the same year. But while in the university he was known for Islamic activism and was even the Secretary-General of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, MSSN. The revered leader even without Iran was already calling for the establishment of fairness and justice to all through Islam.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran only complemented what he was doing by proving that it was practicable and not just theory. The Islamic Revolution in Iran encouraged a lot of other freedom seeking groups that it is possible to achieve their goals like SWAPO and ANC in particular.
Furthermore, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is not sponsored by Iran. Neither you the writer nor the Nigerian government has any evidence whatsoever that Iran is sponsoring the IMN and I challenge you to show it to the world if you have any. How much would you be paid to risk being murdered by your own government? This is a very stupid claim!
Despite the number of sponsored people and groups that presented memos and were publicly examined by the JCI in Kaduna no one was able to produce any evidence that the Movement is sponsored by Iran. Where did you get your own claim from?
Hence, identifying with Iran is simply in the ideology which if Iran turns away from, the movement will equally turn away from Iran. So what if Shi’ites identify with Iran because they are Shi’ites? Don’t the Wahhabis identify with Saudi Arabia? Don’t the Tarikas identify with Morocco and Tunisia? Don’t the Catholics identify with Rome? Don’t the Anglicans identify with England? Don’t the Jews identify with Israel?
Keep religion aside people identify with their values, ideas and practices and their heroes as well that are outside Nigeria whether in sports, politics, business and every other aspect of life. Why the mischief of trumpeting that the Shi’ites identify with Iran? So what if IMN identifies with Iran what is wrong with Iran and who is afraid of Iran?
A major principle of the leader of the Movement that has kept the Movement alive is the fact that every member must be ready to sacrifice his life and his wealth for the course. It is not an issue of money-making it is a struggle in which you involve your wealth while your life is also at risk. It is his policy that people shun individualism and greed and always think in terms of the general interest of all. Hence, everything in the Movement is financed by its members through contributions just the way you claimed to have noticed in the absence of the leader in your write-up.
Let me tell you what Iran is to me personally. It is an example of a country that has successfully freed itself through a revolution from the exploitation and oppression by the global imperialism. It is a country that has resisted sanctions and imposed war for over thirty years of its existence. It miraculously under mega economic sanctions developed into a superpower to be reckoned with in its region.
Iran is a country that has developed in the fields of science and technology into becoming a major global nuclear power to be reckoned with all under sanctions for years. It is an oil rich country and OPEC member that does not rely on its oil for survival. Nigeria has more to benefit from Iran than the European and American exploiters who squeeze everything out of us to build their countries. I still leave you to find the answer for me, who is afraid of Iran and why?
Secondly, Sani Yakubu is not in a good position to speak on the IMN at least to a responsible and fair journalist. He is just turned into a joker of the mischief makers and perpetrators of the Zaria massacre. This is a man that declared publicly that Sheikh Zakzaky was not his brother because he is Shi’ite and that Shi’ites and Christians are all infidels. This is his level of insanity.
Sani is one of the ardent anti-Shi’ite Wahhabi extremist who see every other person as an infidel except he follows their way. His personal reason for speaking against Sheikh Zakzaky, beyond religion and faith, is that they shared the same father and not the same mother and so, they did not belong to the same room, that contest and envy the Zaria people refer to as ‘yan’ubanci’ reigns higher in him. To him those from other rooms/mothers must not achieve more than them in life. This is how morally low he is.
In their maiden press conference after the Zaria attack, the Nigerian Army used Sani Yakubu as their joker putting him on the high table and treating him as a special guest with the Army spokesman even specially announcing his presence in the midst of the hungry ‘Arabic speaking idiots’ they gathered. They sponsored him to show support for their attack on Sheikh Zakzaky in order to douse tension and convince the public that their dirty work was in order. He was everywhere in the headlines blackmailing Sheikh Zakzaky. I heard a journalist describing him as the most stupid brother of the year.
Sheikh Zakzaky had other brothers and sisters but were not contacted or quoted because they spoke against the Army inhumanity. In fact if Sheikh Zakzaky was a bad man as you are trying to depict, why did his elder sister Goggo Fatima sacrificed her life defending him that she was even burned alive by the Nigerian Army in the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky during the December attack?
Why didn’t you talk about his nephew Shamsu the son of his brother Abdulqadir that was also brutally killed by the Army when he stood by the door blocking the Army from reaching Sheikh Zakzaky? Why don’t they quote Sheikh Abdulqadir whose son was murdered by the Army? Why don’t they quote Malam Badamasi who has been an ardent follower of the Sheikh? I know why, is because of mischief and calumny against Sheikh Ibraheen Zakzaky and not because of journalism and professionalism.
I know journalists in Kaduna that attended the Army press conference at 1 Division in Kaduna after the Zaria massacre who Sani Yakubu begged not to report what he said because he was made to say it and is shameful. Therefore he lacks both morality and integrity to speak on Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and the IMN and lacks any genuineness as a source of reference when speaking about Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzkay. In like manner everything you have quoted from him lack substance because they have failed the litmus test.
Thirdly, you raised the issue of road blockage and even relating it to civil disobedience and also thinking that you are doing journalism. What a shame. Did President Muhammadu Buhari not block roads when he was campaigning to become Nigeria’s President? Why were he and all APC members not killed by the Army? Everybody blocks road in this country when the need for such arises. Even the church to which the Vice President Yemi Osimbajo belongs blocks one of the most busiest roads in West Africa, the Lagos Ibadan Express way for over three days several times every year and the church members have not been killed by the Nigerian Army. In several occasions even the Army is affected by the blockage but they never killed them because they are not Shi’ites I believe.
Emirs block roads in the north during their Durbar every Sallah and even harass those who insist on using the roads. Mosques and Churches block roads on Fridays and Saturdays respectively. During festivals like yam festivals and carnivals roads are blocked and all these happen during the year and their adherents are not murdered by Nigerian Army. Why the IMN?
I am not surprised that you bring up this issue because it says who you are writing for because it was one of the five changed reasons for the mass murder tendered by the Nigerian Army.
The IMN does not in any way constitute any nuisance to the public because it is so organized in its activities and has the best records of crowd management in Africa.
You falsely describe the IMN as an extremist group without any justification when you the writer have been part of events the movement had conducted along with non-Shi’ite Muslims and Christians alike. The IMN has been condemned by the majority Wahabbi Muslims for building bridges with Christian communities and joining them in their celebrations. I wonder where you have seen a religious extremist opening up to that extent and declaring every human being his brother either in faith or in humanity. IMN is the only Islamic group in the entire country that has a Christian Forum and has as part of its annual programs a Unity Week for Muslims.
Definitely if you are looking for extremists look for them elsewhere and not in the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
Fourthly, the other point you brought was the one fabricated by the Kaduna state government to justify its role in the attack. This is the issue of Gyallesu residents rejoicing the absence of Sheikh Zakzaky. The Kaduna state government sponsored some individuals in the media in the name of some inexistent groups to blackmail the IMN in order to justify the Army genocide.
The Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai himself even before announcing the establishment of his Judicial Commission of Inquiry indicted the Movement publicly accusing it of a lot of things he could not prove. It was in the process that those Gyallesu individuals were employed to smear the IMN and its leader. Most of those involved in the deal are Wahhabis who see the IMN as their enemy and the Army as fighting a Jihad for them by killing Shi’ites.
Not for that, no body is rejoicing the absence of the Sheikh in Gyallesu. It was clear when Sheikh Zakzaky gave the Ramadan food items to the needy during the recently concluded Ramadan as he had done annually, the people received it and were happy and praying that the government of tyrant releases him.
It was just a day into the process that the same thugs and drug addicts that were used by the Army to scavenge dead corpses of IMN members were hired by the state government through the same Wahhabi clerics to go and attack those that collected the food and seize and it from them lest they support Sheikh Zakzaky.
I can clearly recall the incident of 2011 when General Buhari lost in the elections and his supporters went wild killing and burning properties of non-indigenes of Zaria mostly Christians presumed to be supporting the PDP. It was the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky that became the safety abode for them and were protected and looked after until the crises subsided. A lot of residents in Gyallesu relied on the IMN medical services for their health support. The entire Gyallesu is set free of rape and activities of the under-world with the presence of the Sheikh in the community. Most of the victims of such activities of the under-world were students from the Congo campus of ABU and Federal College of Education and a lot of such students have testimonies to tell.
The absence of Sheikh Zakzaky is more like hell to the people of Zaria in general who make a lot of money from the millions of Sheikh Zakzaky’s followers that visit the town during various activities of the IMN. These include hotels, restaurants, shop owners and transporters who make more than what they make in three months in just one day of a major IMN event. A lot of them are now complaining and some have even closed down their businesses. I say is like hell because of the current hardship instituted on the Nigerian people by the government in addition to the absence of Sheikh Zakzaky.
Definitely it is vague statement for any right thinking person to say that people are rejoicing the absence of Sheikh Zakzaky in Zaria, no, they are regretting his absence and wishing he comes back to them. It is only the government propagandists that make their own money by lying to the public about the reality on ground that are rejoicing while the verse population is left to suffer.
Lastly, the fifth point you raised is the same point the security apparatus blackmailing the leader of the IMN and the movement are mischievously spreading on the social media. You gave a false picture of a rift within the movement claiming that there is fictionalization of the movement. The Movement is still what it is and has its network of information and activities as well as leadership chain that all the members still recognize and respect even in the absence of the revered Sheikh. You should know that it is a lie because a factionalized organization can never achieved what the movement had achieved since the Zaria pogrom by putting its opponents on the defensive.
The movement since inception has been a peaceful, non-violent and unarmed movement. It is those in authority that have submitted themselves to the control of some foreign powers that allow themselves to be used in attacking the movement thereby helping them fight a proxy war against Iran and we all know who the arch-enemies of Iran are.
There is never and will never be a time that the movement will ever attack or intimidate anybody anywhere. It is always the securities that have attacked the movement at will and then use the media to claim that there was a ‘clash between the Army and the Shi’ites’.
Even in 2014 when the Army attacked the and killed 34 members of the Movement including three biological sons of the leader, two of whom were taken alive by Colonel Okuh and tortured to death. The attack was after the Pro-Palestinian rally when people were returning to their various destinations and not during the demonstration, whose road was blocked then? The Nigerian Army came shooting and killing innocent people going about their businesses just like that.
I remember the case of an Igbo businessman, Mr Julius Anyanwu who saw no reason why the soldiers should be killing innocent people and confronted them at PZ round about in Zaria on that fateful day asking them to stop the killing and they killed him at close range.
The Army was even selective during the killing looking for the children of Sheikh Zakzaky in particular and whisked them away where they tortured them to death. Ali who survived the tortured revealed what happened but was murdered by the same Nigerian Army along with two of his siblings during the December 2015 attack.
The Pro-Palestinian demonstration of 2016 otherwise called International Quds Day you claimed was peaceful because the IMN now are law abiding was peaceful not because anything had changed from what and how it used to be as you mischievously depicted. It was peaceful because the government did not decide to attack the demonstration.
If the government had attacked it the news would be different. It was the same assembly, the same people on the same Nigerian roads demonstrating with the same and even greater spirit than before. So what has changed? Ask the journalists that were there because you were not there.
It was not all that rosy anyway because in Sokoto the Nigerian Police kidnapped four young boys after the Pro-Palestinian demonstration and addressed a press conference claiming that they have arrested Shi’ites with dangerous weapons. Thanks to the timely intervention of our lawyers and they were released on bail.
Have you ever stopped for minute to ask yourself why anyone would attack a pro-Palestinian rally or demonstration? In whose interest is he attacking it? That would tell you who he is working for.
Finally, you quoted something I posted on facebook and claimed that it was a circular proving that there was faction in the movement. It was simply a post on my wall on facebook which I know the security and perpetrators of the Zaria massacre are not happy about.
They are only trying to create ways to blackmail the IMN by using some security agents to pose as Shi’ites. Those people have never been with and are never part of the IMN. Their job is to spread calumny against the leader of the IMN in particular and propagate that he is not Shi’ite and that Shi’ism instructs one to be obedient to oppressive authority.
They abuse and insult Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and promote and eulogize President Buhari and General Buratai for killing IMN members. Do you need to be told who they are working for as a member of IMN o even as an objective onlooker?
Their intention is to create an artificial tension between the IMN and those claiming they are Shi’ites so that the security would go and eliminate one of them and then point accusing fingers at the IMN. They have done it to us in Sokoto using one cleric called Danmaishiyya and have tried and failed in Zaria using another cleric called Albani. I wrote that post and even commented on some posts to draw the attention of IMN members not to fall victims to that plot. As part of the IMN peace mechanism we thought keeping silent to all their activities is the best.
This rejoinder will not be complete if I fail to thank members of the Movement for a job well done. They have exhibited the best of loyalty to the revered leader by not reacting negatively despite the pressure and intimidation by the government. Their intention was for the IMN to go wild so that they have a reason to not only clampdown on the Movement but also wipe it out and outlaw it. This they have failed, thanks to the peaceful and focused steps of seeking redress taken by the movement. It is now clear to the world who the extremists, intimidators, oppressors and tyrants really are.
It is our pride that in obedience to his Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky we have refused to allow ourselves to be used in shedding the blood of innocent people. You can continue to kill us and we will continue to use the same weapon of peace to fight back until we attend your own funeral and achieve true freedom and emancipation.