By Abdulmumin Giwa
I have heard a lot of commendations on the peaceful conduct of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) under the revered leadership of His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) which is so matured in its thought and ideas to the extent of managing itself through most tempting situations.
The IMN had been attacked on several occasions where its members are mercilessly killed and their property destroyed by the Nigerian government and its military and security agents.
I can sight some few major attacks on the IMN that include that of Sokoto in 2003 where 15 IMN members were butchered by government hired touts, their shops and residences were set ablaze and razed to ground for no just cause apart from sectarian hatred.
About 110 of them were jailed only to be released after finding out that they were not guilty. The Sokoto state government was instructed to pay compensation and that was all. The IMN members returned home and continued their activities after spending four years behind bars for no just course.
The IMN never looked back with the intention of revenge or counter-attack and that was how everything ended.
In Potiskum, in May 2012 the Islamic center was attacked by “unknown gunmen” wanting to kill Sheikh Mustapha Nasidi who was heading the center. His immediate younger brother and other members were brutally killed but they missed killing him. There also the bullet shells and magazines found at the scene were carrying the Nigerian Police and military colors proving who actually attacked.
In the same center in 2014 and inn 2015 there was a bomb attack at a gathering of children where several of them were also brutally killed and the government blamed the attack on Boko Haram.
The IMN also never looked back with the intention of revenge or counter-attack and that was how everything ended.
There was also the attack on the Quds Day procession in 2014 by the Nigerian Army who killed 34 IMN members after the peaceful procession. There they abducted three of Sheikh Zakzaky’s sons and tortured them to death in the army barracks.
There too a lot of tension was raised expecting an uncontrollable outburst by the IMN but the leader of the Movement simply called for calm and that was all nothing happened thereafter.
There was also the Zaria massacre that witnessed the mass murder of over 1000 IMN members by the Nigerian Army. The Kaduna state government in collaboration with the Army buried 347 IMN members in one of the mass graves discovered by the Amnesty International (AI) at Mando in Kaduna. They also burned down the residence of the IMN leader and later demolished it. They demolished the Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah, they demolished Fudiyya Islamic center, they demolished Darur Rahma and the tomb of Sheikh Zakzaky’s mother.
The Army in that attack also burned IMN members alive including the elder sister of the IMN leader. They also killed another set of three sons of Sheikh Zakzaky, shot him and his wife severally and detained them for 10 months now without trial or any charges. All these crimes against humanity took place because of a purported blockage of the convoy of the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS).
That also did not attract any violent reaction from the IMN. Peaceful steps of seeking redress were taken by the movement in courts within and outside Nigeria. The IMN embarked on peaceful demonstrations and rallies calling for the immediate and unconstitutional release of the revered leader. Nobody was attacked and no violence was engaged in even as the government had severally attempted provoking the IMN into violence but all to no avail.
During the 2015 the Arba’een trek from Kano to Zaria was also attacked by government agents flanked as Boko Haram who were actually caught. Several IMN, members were killed in the bomb attack and scores were also injured in that deliberate attempt to scare members away from that religious symbol. There too the trekking continued to Zaria without any situation.
As one of the cases at the Federal High Court in Abuja is progressing and the judge is expressing dismay with the irresponsibility, human rights violation and national embarrassment perpetrated by the Nigerian government, he advised the Nigerian government to settle out of court with the IMN to avoid his ruling.
The Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai decided to escalate the situation by disregarding the constitutional provision of rights to worship, rights to associate and rights not to be discriminated at and he used flimsy and unsubstantiated reasons and arrogated to himself the power to ban the IMN. He banned the IMN hoping for a reprisal from it to use to blackmail it. All the IMN did was to continue with its peaceful activities and reminded him of the constitutional provisions and refused to be banned.
He engaged his Wahhabi brothers in the fight against the IMN who he funded along with the state machinery and mobilized a force against the IMN members who he attacked and killed three and injured several others in Kaduna during the recently concluded annual Ashura event, burned the IMN center in Kaduna and two primary schools owned by the IMN.
What is worse is that the impoverished citizens and the Wahhabi collaborators who have no jobs, no food, no security, no healthcare services, no education and no basic life infrastructures due to government incompetence were exploited and paid N5000 to kill any Shiite in the state they see.
The Kaduna state Governor had fully engaged himself in the criminal act of minority cleansing using the opportunity of the public office he is occupying. He now wants every Shiite killed because he is a Wahhabi governor.
One of the video clips of the El-Rufai attack on Shiites in Kaduna showed how his sponsored thugs brutally murdered IMN members under the protection of the police and Army. It showed how an IMN member already stabbed and cut severally was mutilated to death. The El-Rufai thug was using a big stone to break the IMN member’s head open while the other thug was pulling him inside refuse. The genocide spearheaded by El-Rufai on IMN members in Kaduna was terrible.
This is what brings me to my earlier statement that we are being pushed to the wall. We are human beings and we have our limits and we even have a limit to the level of restraint we are demonstrating that people are ignorantly exploiting.
It would be highly deceptive and foolish to presume that we will just continue to look on as you come-kill-and-go of us. Yes we are indeed peaceful and non-violent but there are peaceful ways of self-defense as well that might not be pleasing to those who take pleasure in killing us.
Remember that those you are killing are our wives, our sisters, our mothers, our brothers, our husbands, our friends and our relations. Lest anybody feels he cannot observe restraint any longer he should not be blamed. This is unjust and unfair.
Just like Barr. Ebeneza Oyetakin, I wouldn’t want a situation whereby the government would come to start begging for dialogue when everything has been nursed by the greedy Nigerian leaders into an unwanted situation.
I feel it is the responsibility of right-thinking people, people of conscience and the human right organizations to call the Kaduna state governor to order lest he creates an unfavorable situation.
There is no way anybody at all can stop us from becoming Shiites no matter how much he despises the religion and no matter how fanatical he is about hiss Wahhabism. The IMN is close to 40 year now in existence in Nigeria and the adherents practice the faith out of conviction and not imposition. It is most deceptive for anyone to think he can use force to eliminate it as no member was forced to join.
The IMN is non-violent and cannot be provoked into violence, but the members of the IMN are equally human beings and have the right to defend and protect their lives against predators. We are aware that the public is never our enemy and we can never be provoked or pushed into engaging in any form of violence with the public. But have the right to defend ourselves and circumstances would lead to that.
Our blood is not as cheap as the blinded self-appointed enemies of the IMN see it. We are being pushed to the wall lest we push back, those concerned should speak out and now is the time to speak out.
By Abdulmumin Giwa