Nigerian government and damage control after Zaria massacre
By Abdulmumin Giwa
The Nigerian government has damaged its democratic image and human rights records with the extra-judicial killing and burning alive of over 1000 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) using most terrorizing and brutal means.
The Nigerian Army tested the capacity of its weapons that included machine guns, Armored Personnel Carriers, Rocket Propelled Grenades life rounds and others on unarmed men, women, children and even infants who they willfully killed while they chant anti-Shiite slogans as if the army was a rival religious sect last December in Zaria.
We are aware of the evil intentions of the perpetrators of the 12th-14th of December 2015 Zaria massacre of killing the leader of the IMN, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), dispersing his followers and banning the Movement. The government sees the IMN leader as a threat to the interest of its neo-colonial masters in Israel and America who want what they refer to as ‘Iranian influence’ destroyed anywhere across the globe.
They see the IMN as Shiite, pro-Iranian and anti-Israeli and could not afford to lose the largest black nation in the world to Iran. Therefore their toy in the Villa is given the job of eliminating the IMN.
The imperialist and neo-colonialist stooge ruling the country, now turned tyrant and dictator, is not pleased with the failure to achieve their aim of eliminating the IMN and its leader despite a major failed attempt.
The attack on the IMN caused the Nigerian regime to commit its gravest mistake that had shattered all its dreams and intentions, such that the regime is unable to fulfill any of its promise to the public.
More so, the regime and its officials have been indicted and condemned globally by internationally accredited human rights organization of human rights violations and crimes against humanity.
Such human rights groups have even staged rallies in Nigerian High Commission in London and the United Nations in New York and have also made presentations before it while they have also dragged the Nigerian President and his Army Chief to the International Criminal Court ICC in The Hague.
Also groups and individuals of conscience have staged demonstrations and rallies in several countries across the globe that include India, Canada, France, London, US, Russia and other countries condemning the inhumanity by the Nigerian government.
This had tarnished the human rights and democratic image of the Nigerian government and its leadership and is even affecting its ability to procure weapons from some countries whose congresses have threatened voting against selling arms to Nigeria, giving their reasons simply as the Nigerian government using the arms to murder unarmed civilians.
As a result of the failure to achieve their evil intention of eliminating the IMN, damage control processes have to be initiated by the Nigerian government to save itself and image from further indictments that include human rights violation, counter-democratic activities, disregard to the Nigerian constitution, genocide and impunity.
As a result of these, the damage control activities concentrated on using conspiracy, lies, propaganda, flag-up operations, bribery and even threats of terrorism on the IMN (when they reintroduced the Boko Haram recently).
The damage control process would serve two basic purposes of suppressing the IMN and covering up the mess they had committed in Zaria. Hence, as much as they tirelessly try to prove their innocence they would also try to blackmail the IMN and limit the sympathy it gets from the public. This is necessary in order not to weaken the government and strengthen the IMN.
Now that they have nothing to blame the IMN with, they have to make all efforts to show that the IMN was violent, militant, terror branded, derailed Islamic sect and a gathering of hoodlums.
To achieve these, just immediately after the Zaria massacre, the Nigerian government and the Army went as low as sponsoring propaganda on television to deceive Nigerians and justify why they killed men, women and children and burned and buried many of them alive. They have shown ceremonial events by some wings of the IMN and fed their listeners with lies as they watched those motion pictures on the national television saying they were armed militants.
They have sponsored compromised pens to feed the public with lies in advertorials, editorials, features and opinions in several news dailies. They have also funded conferences, sponsored fake and non-existent non-governmental organization to promote the lies they could not take before the judiciary. They have also sponsored rallies and protest marches where they exploit the instituted poverty in the country to pay hoodlums, thugs and jobless youths to protest on what they don’t even know just to get money to put in their pockets.
I could recall watching one of such protests staged by a sponsored group at the NUJ Press Center in Kaduna where they almost started a counter-protest as they waited for the person that contracted them for their N3, 000 payments each who was for a while nowhere to be found. It was a funny sight anyway.
Of recent there were such sponsored protests staged by contracted hoodlums and jobless youths who had no choice than to do anything that would put food on the table for them in Kaduna and Abuja due to the current recession Nigeria had been plunged in by its incompetent president.
The timing for the two protest marches was considerate of the two cases in Abuja and Kaduna in which the IMN is suing the Army and it’s Chief, DSS and Attorney General of Federation as well as the Attorney General of Kaduna state for human rights violation and general damages. Confident of the fact that the cases are not in their favor they have to use the protest to sway public support and reduce resentments and condemnation.
To even prove the marches were sponsored, they were not chased and teargased by the Police and Nigerian Army as they marched vigorously in the streets of Abuja also obstructing traffic and supporting the government killing of Shiites in Zaria.
More so, the government and the Army have sponsored hungry “Arabic speaking idiots” otherwise called clerics to induce hatred of the IMN in the public through lies, fabrications and blackmail in their ‘commercial centers’ they call mosques.
They set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) in Kaduna state to deceive the public that they were doing something on the pogrom. They composed it and sponsored groups and individuals to present monotonous memos indicting the IMN. They also made sure the IMN was never allowed to present anything before the JCI by keeping the IMN leader incommunicado in illegal detention and refusing to present him before the inquiry as a primary victim. There were also over 200 IMN members being held in Kaduna Central Prison that were also not consulted by the JCI for their sides of the story.
The Nigerian government and the Army have sponsored sectarian sentiments using anonymous groups to fabricate lies against the IMN and promote an instituted division among adherents of the Islamic faith. Of recent they are even inciting some shallow-minded people into believing that if they enter Shiite gatherings and detonate bombs they would be rewarded by God. Definitely a government with is type of mentality is most irresponsible and misguided.
To top it all up, the international mainstream media was managed directly by the neo-colonial masters of the Nigerian leader who have blocked news about the Zaria pogrom from being heard in the world. They refused to report anything on the massacre despite the intensity of the damage done. Imagine killing and burning over 1000 human beings and there was no such report in the entire western media.
This damage control of a thing also includes efforts to demonize the IMN and its leader by attributing violence to them but has not been effective due to the level of maturity and conduct of the IMN that had superseded that of the Nigerian government and its officials who embarrass the government anytime they speak to the public on the Zaria pogrom.
In the meantime, ten months after the pogrom and close to a court decision to order the release of the IMN leader, the government and the Army is now engaging in another circle of propaganda trying to link the IMN with Boko Haram.
Their lies to the public whose ignorance they exploit are even contradictory. In a sponsored write-up by one Alphonsus Ukeme they said Iran was sponsoring the IMN and Boko Haram. He called on Nigeria to severe relations with Islamic Republic of Iran. Also, in a recently sponsored rally in Kaduna by an anonymous group called Kaduna Justice and Peace Foundation led by one comrade Ibrahim Abubakar, they claimed it was Syria that was sponsoring the IMN and that the IMN was a wing of ISIL. They also called on Nigeria to severe relations with Syria.
They are so desperate that they could say anything under the assumption that the public that the public is ignorant and could easily be deceived. This has ended up making them look stupid and being turned into objects of mockery. They contract daft and unintelligent people to promote their public image but end up embarrassing them the more.
No matter how deceptive the government can be there is no way it can convince Nigerians that the IMN has any link with the Boko Harram or ISIL because they already know that Boko Haram and ISIL are Sunni Wahhabis while the IMN are Shiites.
Nigerians have heard just of recent from Shekau the Boko Haram leader after hid resurrection to his fifth life in the terrorist game being played by the Nigerian government that the IMN leader Sheikh Zakzaky and his followers have gone astray.
All these contradictions are as a result of desperation and wrong management of their damage control. They are now desperately looking for a soft landing after messing up and are willing to do anything. I should say this is even the reason why Justice Gabriel Kolawale of the Federal High Court of Justice, presiding over the case in which the DSS, COAS and AGF are sued, is offering them an option of out of court settlement to avoid further image damage lest he spells out his ruling.
Definitely it is now clear to the world that the IMN under the revered leadership of His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is emerging victorious at the end. The IMN had been intimidated by the Nigerian government from which it is hoped that they might have now learnt that the use of force only enhances and empowers the revolutionaries and never kills them.