We’re all brothers in humanity – Shi’ites
Aday before the federal government deposed that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (MIN), Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky is being held at his own wish, members of the sect addressed the media where they gave conditions over the December 12 and 14, 2015 killing of their members.
When eventually the counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), Tijjani Gazalli appeared before an Abuja Federal High Court on June 14 to argue the reply to the fundamental rights enforcement suit of the Sheik, who was being held with his wife, Zeenah Ibrahim, it seemed a déjà vu.
The delegation from the Free Sheik Zakzaky Committee who came on a visit to Media Trust Ltd headquarters on June 13, said they have come to demand justice for the victims of the clash and punishment for those who carried out the killings.
The group led by the chairman of the committee, Abdulrahman Yola, said they have filed a complaint to the international community specifically, the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, for reprieve for their losses.
The delegation reiterated the stance of IMN that it shunned the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government because its constitution was biased against it.
Consequently, the sect demands the unconditional release of Sheik Zakzaky, the return of corpses of slain members for proper Islamic burial rites, release of all those in detention over the allegation that 256 members and a two-year-old baby of the sect killed a soldier, and an independent judicial panel to be set up to determine what happened and bring culprits to book.
Recalling the clash, Yola alleged that dozens of faithful were indiscriminately killed in Zaria, while the sect’s Hussainiyya was destroyed by the army.
The IMN claimed that 950 members are still unaccounted for, 347 people were buried in mass graves, and 181 detained in the Kaduna Central Prisons, among them are students, a two year old baby, the ill and the aged.
“All that happened we believe they were stage-managed. Firstly, they attacked the Hussainiyya under the pretext that the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff was blocked. In actuality, three hours before the coming of the Chief of Army Staff, a contingent of the military was stationed, fully armed with extra ammunition, in front of the Hussainiyya,” Yola said.
“After clearing the road, reinforcement was brought in whereby they cordoned off the whole premises from 3 o’clock in the afternoon up till 12 midnight when they started bombarding the Hussainiyya where there were women and children. They moved away from the Hussainiya to the residence of the sheikh where they again opened fire.
“There are sets of rules and regulation governing the existence of human life. The life of every human being is sacred. We do not believe in the spilling of the blood any human being irrespective of who he may be because every human could be either your brother by religion or a brother in humanity,” he said.
The Nigerian Army released a statement after the incident claiming that it acted in self-defence in the incidents, while maintaining that the sect members acted violently.
With the international uproar created over the incident, the IMN said their 10 point demands, if faithfully implemented, will bring closure to the sect’s agony. He said the sect has remained non-violent even when the sheikh’s three sons and dozens of the sect members were allegedly killed by the army in July 2014; and suicide bomb attack, which killed many of the sect members in November, 2015 in Kano. “We have never taken vengeance for even one of those killed,” he said.
The delegation included the chairman, IMN Resource Arm, Yusha’u Shuaibu; Imam and member of Global Foundation in Nigeria, Ibrahim Mohammed Gamawa; and the Abuja Bureau Chief of Pointer Express, Samir Azare.