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The Shia Killings: Nigeria, an Animal Kingdom

In March 2011, the then President Jonathan was stoned at three different places in Gombe during his presidential campaign. On January 2015, the same ex-President Jonathan’s convoy was stoned in Bauchi. In both situations, not a single life was lost as the security agencies managed the situation well. And that was a sitting Commander-in-Chief!

Today we have an Army Chief whose supporters are telling us that it is justified to murder hundreds of human beings because they blocked the road his convoy was supposed to pass through. How times have changed!

From what I’ve been reading, the Army went to El-Zakzaky’s house ostensibly to carry out an arrest (something the Police would have done much better) but ended up killing nearly 200 of his followers…all because they dared block the convoy of the Army Chief!

According to elombah.com reports, Zakzaky’s wife, Malama Zeenat; his son, Sayyid Aliyu, and over 300 members of the Shi’ite, including senior members, were killed by the soldiers.

How times CHANGE! Yes, it’s CHANGE, isn’t it? Well, we have it in blood.

SEE VIDEO BELOW

When I look at Nigeria and observe certain events going therein, I can’t help thinking maybe Nigeria is a zoo after-all, AN ANIMAL KINGDOM!

A country where armed security operatives will open fire on a defenseless Shi’a procession and harmless Biafran demonstrators and it appears normal to the populace

This can only happen only in the animal kingdom, at a time and place where life is ‘nasty, brutish and short’.

It is high time Nigerians irrespective of your ethnicity and religion started speaking up against the Military especially the Army high handedness and use of extreme force on issues which ordinarily can be resolved by Police via dialogue. 

How did ordinary road block escalate to assassination attempt, death of at least 7 civilians on Saturday, a Military siege around the house of Shia “Holy” site over the night, and another 500 dead on Sunday?

Less than 2 weeks ago, Nigeria security men opened fire at unarmed protesters in Onitsha, South East Nigeria killing over 10 people and we applauded. But today it is Zaria, North West Nigeria… Who knows where will it be tomorrow.

Why should brutal force be an option before trying dialogue? Why can’t we for once as a “Nation” learn from our experiences? If the escalation of boko haram isn’t enough experience? When will Nigeria leaders ever learn!

Nigerian Shiite leader, Zakzaky covered in blood upon being arrested with a soldier standing behind him…why this humiliation of a fellow Nigerian?

As I watch the pictures of Zakzaky, covered in blood, and being dragged on the ground by Nigerian Soldiers, and how miscreants rummage through the pockets of the murdered Shiites, robbing the dead, I wonder, is this how Nigeria government treats its citizens?

No one deserves this kind of humiliation even in death and it so unbelievable this inhuman act was perpetrated by Nigeria Military.

During the campaigns, GEJ’s (C-inC of the armed forces) convoy was stoned and those animals even made attempt to attack him yet we never heard the sound of a knockout. The maltreatment given to the shia muslim leader is uncalled for. Our soldiers should stop proving Nnamdi kanu right that Nigeria is a zoo. they should learn to treat us as humans that we are. I repeat, no one deserves this kind of humiliation!

SEE VIDEO

The military and the sect led by Ibrahim Zakzaky have been trading blames over a crisis that broke out in Zaria, Kaduna state, on Saturday. Sani Usman, spokesman of the army, alleged that followers of Zakzay attempted to assassinate Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, an allegation that the movement denied. Zakzay is reportedly in military custody, while some of his members were killed in the clash.

I refuse to believe the bunkum that there was an assassination attempt on the Chief of Army Staff. See CNN report below.

The army should look for a more plausible explanation for the yearly slaughter of its members by our military. Nigerians should put on their thinking cap…how is it possible for an unarmed group engaging in a religious procession to attack the army? And, given the experience with Boko Haram thus far, the extra-judicial killing of these unarmed Shiites might come back to haunt Nigeria, and indeed the Nigerian Army.

Boko Haram NEVER started out as a violent group. It was repeated extra-judicial killings like these, which forced its extremist elements to seek self-help against a state, which appears to derive joy in killing the innocent without regard to due process and the law. And NOBODY spoke up against the extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram members at the time.

Sheikh Zakzaky’s daughter, Dr. Nusaiba Ibrahim Zakzaky, on why her father was attacked and hundreds of followers killed:

“I honestly …, I mean the only thing that I could say is because my dad is trying to get people to understand because in Nigeria people are just oppressed, people do not have rights, the government does whatever they want to do, they have the right to, as you can, see kill anybody and nobody says anything and he is just trying to get people to understand that they have rights, that they should fight for their rights and whoever, I guess, is in power and wants to remain that way does not want that to happen because if people understand that they have rights and they have a choice and they do not have to live the way they are living right now, maybe their power is threatened.”

This is not the first time that the movement would clash with soldiers. Last year, some members of the movement, including two sons of Zakzaky, were killed during a similar crisis. 

President Muhammadu Buhari should act his office by calling the military to order. These extra-judicial killings must stop as Boko Haram has proved, and effectively too, that the ONLY difference between a soldier and civilian is just the uniform. Once a determined civilian is armed like the soldier, only God knows what will happen.

It is terrible how Nigerian army are getting the ignorant public in justifying the murder of 300 innocent Nigerians.

Please note; Shiite Muslims are no Boko haram militants. ISIS and Boko haram militants are rather of the Sunni variant of Islam.

Though the majority of the Nigerian Muslim population is Sunni, there is a significant Shia minority, particularly in the northern states of Kano and Sokoto. They are called Shi’ia or Shi’ite.

Persecution

Members of the Nigerian Shia community have been persecuted in some cases, Cleric Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is a primary figure in the movement.

Meanwhile Sa’ad Abubakar, the sultan of Sokoto, has warned the federal government not to allow the crisis between the military and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria go out of hand.

The monarch called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the clash, recalling that the Boko Haram insurgency that the country is facing started in a similar manner.

He made the observations in a statement, signed on his behalf by Is-haq Oloyede, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

The statement reads: “While there are claims and counter-claims on what actually precipitated the latest heart-rending incident,‎ the NSCIA‎ urges the authorities to exercise restraint.

“The history of the circumstances that engendered the outbreak of militant insurgency in the past, with cataclysmic consequences that Nigeria is yet to recover from, should not be allowed to repeat itself.

“We urge the federal government to immediately constitute a judicial commission of inquiry to thoroughly unravel the immediate and remote causes of the current mayhem. Besides, the commission should also investigate the past incidents involving the movement so that justice can be done. “The sanctity of human life is inviolable ‎in Islam and painstaking efforts should be made at all times to prevent bloodshed.

In other words, life is sacred and the fundamental responsibility of government is to guarantee the security of life and property. “While no group should be allowed to constitute law unto itself or arrogate unconstitutional powers to itself under any guise, the fact still remains that the position of law is clear when there is any breach. Therefore, as order is the first law of heaven, normalcy and restraint should be taken seriously.

“May the Almighty Allah guide our leaders right and guard us Nigerians against our own indiscretion at all times.”

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Nigerian military attacks Shia group over blocked road, killing some

(CNN)The Nigerian military launched an attack on a Shia Muslim group in one of the country’s northern cities over the weekend, killing numerous people after a military convoy got stuck by a march.

The trouble began Saturday, when thousands of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a pro-Iranian Shia group, held a march in Zaria, in Kaduna State, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and his convoy wound up trapped in the gridlock.

According to some accounts, a metal object was thrown at the general’s vehicle by someone in the crowd. Soldiers mistook the sound for gunshots and apparently thought it was part of an attempt to assassinate the general.

At any rate, soldiers in the convoy opened fire, killing a number of people. Members of the sect put the number at more than 100.

Troops backed by tanks went to leader’s home

After receiving reports that members of the Islamic group were “mobilizing” following the shootings at the march, troops targeted the group’s shrines and enclaves, according to Maj. Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade.

Troops reportedly firebombed the‎ Husseiniyya, the group’s religious center, and destroyed another religious center on the outskirts of the city.

In the evening, the troops, backed by tanks, moved to the area where the group’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, lives. Hundreds of Zakzaky’s followers went to the house to try to prevent his arrest.

A night-long battle ensued, in which more people were killed. The home was firebombed and demolished.

The sect said Zakzaky’s wife, Zeenat, was among the dead but the military said she and Zakzaky were in protective custody.

Senator condemns military’s actions

An army spokesman acknowledged the loss of life but blamed members of the sect.

The “incident,” said Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, was the “result of the Shiite group members’ blocking roads and not allowing other passers-by to go about their lawful businesses and activities.”

“It is important to note that over the years this group has subjected ordinary citizens using public roads to untold delays, threats and disruption simply because they insist on using public space irrespective of inconvenience and hardship on other law-abiding citizens and motorists,” Usman said. “This cannot be tolerated and must stop.”

He said police would conduct an inquiry as soon as order was restored. His statement made no reference to a perceived assassination attempt.

But Shehu Sani, a senator representing Kaduna Central, criticized the military’s actions.

“Nigeria has not learned its lessons,” Sani said. “This was how Boko Haram started, with the extra-judicial killing of their leader in 2009. What happened in Zaria was nothing but an act of brutality by the Nigerian military.”

Boko Haram is a brutal militant Sunni group active in northern Nigeria. It is perhaps most notorious for the April 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok.

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