DEMAND FOR JUSTICE! 100 days after the mass murder of the Kano axis Arbaeen symbolic trekkers by the State Police command

By: Dr. Dauda Nalado

The ‘Arbaeen’, which is on 20th Safar of each calendar year, is a very
important date to Muslims, especially the Shiah, the world over. It is
a symbol of commemorating 40 days of the martyrdom of Imam Husain
(AS), the grandson of the Prophet (SAAW) through a symbolic trek to
Karbala from different locations. This practice found its root in the
tradition of renowned companion of the Prophet, Jabir bn Abdullahi
Al-ansary (RA).
The trek has become famous in Nigeria. Members of the Islamic Movement
in Nigeria under the leadership of his Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem
El-Zakzaky (H) embark upon it annually. Different Joint meeting
centers were established where Arbaeen mourners will meet and commence
the symbolic trek to Zaria. Kano is one of these designated centers.
The idea of trekking to mark or celebrate an event is not alien or new
after all. Several people trekked much longer distances to celebrate
the victory of President Buhari. We see ours as a religious duty. In a
democratic Nigeria, where the rule of law shall hold, we should be
allowed to exercise our rights to worship, freedom of association and
conscience.
Unfortunately, this administration, as if not satisfied with the Zaria
massacre of December 2015 where they killed close to one thousand
Nigerians and their bodies dumped in mass graves and the blood they
spilled during Ashura in various States, plotted against the trek,
thus infringing upon our rights. Despite the fact that the plot was
leaked and exposed, they acted with impunity. On the fateful Monday
14th November 2016, combined forces and the police, used live
ammunition and attacked the peaceful trekkers from Kano center without
any provocation. Not less than 100 Nigerian citizens including
pregnant women, children and babies were murdered in cold blood and
their corpses carted away to unknown locations.
An 8- months old baby Zainab was among the massacred victims. Scores
of men women and the under aged were injured. In a desperate bid to
cover up their crime against humanity, the Police sponsored media
outlets which spread lies and false propaganda that the Arbaeen
mourners "attacked Police and motorists". The IGP even lied blatantly
by saying that the peaceful trekkers, consisting of students, pregnant
and baby- nursing mothers, were ‘armed to the teeth’. How can such
people attack heavily-armed Police? To add salt to injury, the Police
arrested and subsequently masterminded keeping of nearly 50 victims,
who are in critical conditions, under prison custody. They
mischievously alleged that the armless victims shot a policeman and
killed him, thus inserting the culpable homicide clause in the
prosecution in order to frustrate legal efforts at gaining the freedom
of the oppressed. The police must have been shot by his colleague at
arm.
We demand justice. Justice delayed is justice denied. Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one
directly, affects all indirectly. People of conscience should speak to
condemn these gross atrocities. We demand the government to obey court
order and release Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu
immediately and unconditionally. We demand the release of our
oppressed arbaeen victims languishing in Kano Central Prison. We
demand that the culprits of the Kano arbaeen mass murder, especially
the State commissioner of Police, be brought to justice. We register
our heartfelt condolences to the families of Nigerians murdered by the
Nigerian government executed by the Kano State police command in the
Arbaeen massacre. God bless the souls of the Martyrs, heal all those
injured and hasten the freedom of those incarcerated in the prisons.