Zaria Massacre: a State Sponsored Genocide Preamble


The Zaria massacre perpetrated on the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and its leadership by the Nigerian Army on the 12th to 14th of December 2015 will forever remain in history as a planned and executed genocide. Such destruction of life and property in a very crude manner has never occurred in the history of Nigeria before.
Under a flimsy and non-satisfactory pretext, that the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai was blocked by some members of the IMN along Sokoto Road in Zaria, directly opposite the Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah, the Islamic Center of the IMN, the Army descended on the members of the IMN in a killing spree.
The Army after the claimed blockage of the convoy of the COAS engaged in a 48 hours killing of members of the IMN without distinguishing women from men and adults from children. The attack was more of a terrorist attack judging by the way it took place.
Many were shot at close range, many burned alive, many that surrendered were summarily killed and many others buried alive.
Although the Army through the COAS claimed that they killed only seven IMN members to make way for the COAS and also save his life from attack by IMN members, who were alleged to be in possession of petrol bombs, it was later revealed by the Kaduna state government before a Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) it set up that they buried 347 IMN members in a mass grave in Mando village near Kaduna.
This revelation followed a report by the Amnesty International (AI) that there are mass graves with hundreds of people buried in them. The AI also released satellite footages of disturbed earth taken before the mass burial and after the mass burial.
Since the pogrom the IMN leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Sister Zeenat Ibrahim have remained in illegal detention with the DSS. Also about two hundred other members abducted and handed to the police by the Army are kept in Kaduna Central Prison on cropped up charges by the Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Ruifai that includes culpable genocide.
Following the illegal detention of the IMN leader and his wife, the Nigerian government was sued in a Federal High Court in Abuja for violating their fundamental human rights. The court’s judgment is in favor of the IMN leader and the Nigerian government is ordered to release the IMN leader within a period of 45 days from the judgment, provide a residence for him in any state of his choice in northern Nigeria and be paid the sum of N50 million as damages.
Since the judgment which the government appealed, it acted with impunity and contempt of court by refusing to obey the judgment.
Members of the Movement have remained focused, resolute and peaceful by refusing to be intimidated or provoked into violence. They remained on the path of seeking redress through peaceful means as against the false propaganda spread against them blackmailing them as being violent and notorious.
The general belief off the Movement is that the massacre was pre-planned and executed by the government with the sole intention of killing the IMN leader, dispersing his followers and outlawing the Movement all of which have woefully failed.

Brief History of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria was born towards the end of the 70s at the prominent Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. It started with the idea of presenting a new ideology that is an option and a solution to the growing problems of Nigeria. It was evident that Nigeria at that time was heading for the doom despite the oil riches discovered in the country that made Nigeria a member of the prestigious Organization of petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC).
The country at that time was recovering from the dents of the Civil War that added to the problems of having a strong and functional federalism. Individualism, corruption by public officers and tribal and sectional sentiments were taking shape then. The country had changed from operating a parliamentary system run on regional power headed by Premiers to a federal system in which states were created and headed by Governors.
The country’s future was obstructed by the series of military coups that affected the growth of democracy and civil rule in the country. The military rule produced a lot of millionaires who have looted the public coffers and enriched themselves and also founded a pattern in which power was transmitted within their circles even with the advent of civil rule later.
The entire world at that time was shared into two by the two leading ideologies of capitalism and Communism. The capitalist were mostly in the west and led by America while the communists were mostly in the east and led by the Union of Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR). All other countries of the world were left to choose between the two powers or super powers as they were called.
Within the academic circles in Nigeria there were yearnings and agitations by both students and staff calling on Nigeria to adopt the communist ideology as a system. This agitation has grown especially within the universities and had produced a lot of activists. They have on various occasions challenged the government on various public oriented policies, some of which have at various times led to protests by students.
It was at this time that the IMN leader Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub, who was also a student of Economics a Ahmadu Bello University Zaria opted for the Islamic system as the best solution to our problems. He challenged the concepts of theory of evolution and the atheist ideas of communism. He called for the establishment of the Islamic system through a revolutionary process as implemented by Prophet Muhammad SAWA, and replicated by Sheikh Uthman bin Fodio in northern Nigeria about two centuries then. Although it was not smooth all through more Muslim youths subscribed to the idea and the IMN leader led in the intellectual agitations.
Prior to his university days which he attained not through the usual formal pattern of going through primary school or the hen elementary school, secondary and then university, but through a pattern born out of confidence and commitment to intellect, the IMN leader was already a trained Islamic scholar who went through the traditional Islamic schooling system and studied before some of the most prominent scholars in Zaria and Kano. He had exhausted all the study schedules in the traditional Islamic schooling system before he got to university. He was also a trained Islamic teacher from the historic School for Arabic Studies that trained many Grand Khadis in the north of Nigeria. By both right and by training he was a young Islamic scholar then.
He propagated the Islamic ideology based on ideas that were also propagated by activists and scholars like Hassan al Banna and Sayyid Qutb of Egypt. Members of the Movement at that time were known to be receiving inspiration from a particular literature ‘The Milestones’, written by Sayyid Qutb.
It was during the late seventies that events took a startling position in Iran. The activities in Iran witnessed a popular uprising that led to a revolution and the ousting of one of the strongest royal powers in the world led by Shah Reza Pahlavi. The revolution was led by Ayatullah Ruhullah al-Musawi Al-Khumaini (QS) and it led to thhe establishment of the Islamic republic of Iran.
A lot of activists across the world and in Nigeria were impressed that an Islamic scholar could lead a positive revolution and oust a dynasty that is supported by the strongest capitalist country in the world, United States of America. There were a lot of struggling groups across the world that were also empowered by that revolution like African National Congress (ANC) and South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO) all of which were influenced by the Iranian revolution.
The world t at that time was such that a third ideology was introduced on the global stage and is led by the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is seen as a threat to the American interest most especially as there were concessions between the oil rich Iran and America during the reign of the ousted Shah. America lost a lot of economic benefits with the advent of the Islamic regime in Iran. The public who were enlightened through the revolution saw America as an enemy that was exploiting them and subjecting them to economic recessions and difficulties through the Shah who operated as an American stooge.
With the news of the revolution going round and people from different parts of the world were yearning to go to Iran to have an idea of what the Islamic revolution actually was, the IMN leader who was at that time the Secretary General of the Muslim Student Society of Nigeria (MSSN) had the opportunity to visit the Islamic Republic. He decided that whatever he finds Imam Khumaini the leader of the Islamic revolution doing would be what he would resort to on his return.
That brought about the beginning of a new and more practical concept for the movement. This brought about the Funtua Declaration where the IMN leader declared that there is no authority except Allah and submitted hhis entire life to the service of the course off Allah.
Since that time various regimes that came to power ensured that thy kept him out of ccirculation.

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