Pubic deception or ignorance
By Abdulmumin Giwa
It is definitely not just like that the Kaduna state government decided to tell the world the role it played in the genocide perpetrated on members of the Islamic Movement by the Nigerian government and its Army. It is rather a plan to exonerate itself from the crime against humanity most especially as it has been mentioned in the ICC. Their case is that of at least limiting its level of involvement by revealing something that would not just implicate it but would give it a chance to save itself from another indictment.
After meeting on what to do with the corpses of IMN members murdered by the soldiers in Zaria during the 12th to 14th of December pogrom, the government decided to use its office to procure court orders that would serve as permission for them to mass bury the victims.
In collaborations with the Army, the state government mass buried 347 men, women and children in the middle of the night thinking that it was all over.
On its own side the Nigerian Army would play the role of denying killing anybody which they did before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry JCI in Kaduna by refusing to own up to the fact that they killed innocent unarmed civilians in a Zaria killing spree. They referred to the deaths as having been caused by stampede and other factors not the brutal killings, torture and burning of people alive they engaged in that are all evident.
Having exposed its own role in the brouhaha, the Kaduna state government decided to defend itself using the Geneva Convention provisions in a manner that could best be described as ‘deceptive reference’.
This is so because the Convention has no role serving as a reference to justify the crimes of the Kaduna state government. The Geneva Convention protects the rights and the manner of treatment of wartime prisoners both civilians and military.
It was founded after the Second World War and it extends to the treatment of the injured as well as corpses of victims.
Without any further explanations, it is vividly clear that the Kaduna state government cannot use the Geneva Convention to justify its actions as there was nothing like a war in what happened in Zaria and the members of the IMN were not wartime prisoners. They were unarmed civilians brutally massacred by the government and it’s Army for no just course.
More so, the process of mass burial is legally not a secrete affair because there are a lot of processes involved before corpses could be mass buried. It is not just an issue of a court order.
Such processes include ascertaining the reason for the death whether it is a manmade disaster, a natural disaster or disease outbreak and the like.
It involves the process of identifying all those to be buried in the mass grave whose relations must also be notified. Such mass burials must be done in accordance with the faith inclination of those to be buried. More so, the mass burial is conducted in the open with friends and relations of those in the mass grave in attendance.
With the manner in which the Kaduna state government acted it was clear that none of the legal procedures of mass burial was taken. The state government colluded with the Army in mass murdering innocent civilians, it did not identify any of the corpses or notified its relations, it did not establish the causes of death of those it buried and it did not conduct the burial according to the will or faith of those it buried. The worse part of it all is that the state government mass buried IMN members secretly in the middle of the night in the presence of at least sixty heavily armed soldiers assisting.
It is most foolish for the Kaduna state government to seek protection for its action siting the Geneva Convention. Therefor its stance referring to the Geneva Convention is eit