1 Year After Zaria Massacre: We Demand Justice: Free Our Leader
Demand for facilitating the immediate release of Shaikh Zakzaky and observance of the rule of law in dealings with the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
You may not be unaware of the unfortunate but avoidable event that happened between 12th and 14th December, 2015 at Zaria in Kaduna State, where armed soldiers killed hundreds of unarmed citizen of Nigeria under the pretext of “Road Blockage”. Authorities tried to present the event as a “clash” between Shiites and the Nigerian Army. There is no instituted authority, promulgated or enacted law that stipulates blocking of road as punishable by death in any manner. In any way the golden question is: Can there be any clash at all between professionally trained soldiers armed to the teeth and unarmed fellow civilians including women and children? All rules of engagement were violated. Therefore it was either a clear case of extreme form of professional misconduct or a premeditated massacre. Surely, these are crimes against humanity.
The United Nation Organization made a declaration in its Charter in 1945 for the guarantee of these three basic rights: the right to life as sanctity, the right to human dignity and the right to own private property. The Nigerian constitution devoted the whole Chapter IV to Human and other citizens’ rights, including freedom of conscience, the right to choose your religion, freedom of association, freedom of movement and the right to fair hearing. No one can interfere with these rights without the due process of the law. It is expected that the state, all its agencies, and coercive forces in particular, the society in general individually, severally and collectively, should uphold with the greatest care and sincerity the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the democratic principles it contains therein.
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, Shaikh Zakzaky, whose residence was several kilometers away from the reference scene, was attacked by the army under the guise of what they call “cordon and search” operation. His disciples, having known well the several attempts at his life by the armed forces especially the army and DSS, were proactive to provide a human shield to their mentor at Gyallesu quarters. As desperate to accomplish a mission, the army unleashed all the killer arsenals at their disposal and killed 1000+ members, including women and children.
In order to reach the prime target, Shaikh Zakzaky. They killed his three children on the spot, shot him and his wife, Malama Zeenat severally at close range and abducted them. This unconstitutional cruel action is what the DSS claim to be “protective custody”.
The Federal Government, the custodian of the Army, instead of taking the right step at the right time, exhibited its complicity by assigning the Kaduna State Governor to form a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI. The Commission, apart from being partial and dependent, proved its bias by putting up recommendations that are contrary to the fundamental and constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens. It shielded the principal culprits and made the GOC 1 Div NA as the sacrificial lamb. Was the GOC acting alone? Who was his Commander in Chief? Who was the chief security officer of Kaduna State? Shaikh Zakzaky’s right to fair hearing was denied. Yet, in utter disregard to the basic audi alteram partem principle of justice, the Commission went ahead to erroneously and mischievously indict Shaikh Zakzaky and the IMN. This is not and can never be acceptable by all people of conscience.
It is now close to one year that Shaikh Zakzaky still remains in detention without trial on even a framed up or flimsy charge. His health condition is in dire need of attention by relevant professionals, which the DSS could not provide .It is in this context that we categorically solicit for your intervention to prevail upon all stake holders responsible for the continued incarceration of Shaikh Zakzaky and his wife and facilitate their immediate release. As innocent human beings and Nigerian citizens, this will guarantee their freedom as enshrined in the international fundamental charter on human rights and the Nigerian Constitution.
Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
Twitter Handle: @afimn14
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org