By Sameer El-Hajj
Well, I read a sponsored feature pasted on the website of, which is said to have been written by one Gabriel Onoja, possibly a pen name. The disguised writer demonstrated his inner anger towards the just launched #BringBackOurZariaGirls campaign. He labelled the campaign with all available unkind terms, and forwards a call to all meaning Nigerians to set aside the culture of political correctness and call out the Islamic movement of Nigeria (IMN) for their irresponsibility in appropriating the hashtag #BringBackOurZariaGirls for their fanatical goal.
My criticism to Gabriel Onoja will be guided by objectivity unlike his subjective submissions, one sided and biased analysis filled with selfish interest from a soul that lacks sympathy for humanity. Someone should please, help to ask Onoja his whereabouts on the 12th, 13th and 14th of December 2015.
If Onoja is in Nigeria, whether on sleeping pills or awake, he should have known an incident that occurred in Zaria. Unfortunately, the out-dated writer went ahead to make reference with the failed claim of the Nigerian army, that the COAS escaped assassination attempt by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. These claim made by Onoja in a recent article, would be enough evidence to useless all his assertions.
The army had withdrawn the claim that it was an assassination attempt, and replaced it with a road blockade by members of the movement, denying the COAS passage. For the claim lacks factual verifiable evidences to be presented before reasonable minds around the world.
Onoja failed to deny the fact that the Nigerian army had killed all people present at the Hussainiyyah centre of the movement. He also forgot to refer to the Nigerian army massacre at the residence of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky as a script that lacks substantive proof.
After all the grammar, Mr. Onoja forgot to expose the falsity in the claim that the Nigerian army had massacred over 1,000 members of the Islamic movement, burnt some to death, shot female members in their private parts, and killed infants of age group 1 to 3.
Mr. Onojo while trying to prove the army innocence, he ceased to shed more lights on the culprit responsible for the arson committed in the house of Sheikh Zakzaky, killings of his 3 biological sons in his watch, firing of live ammunitions on the Sheikh and his wife. If the entire aforementioned are not clear to Mr. Onoja, he must have come across a heart touching picture of Sheikh Zakzaky in blood, while standing on him are men of the Nigerian army. Then, here comes the undeniable question, who perpetrated the Zaria massacre?
I have this wish that Mr. Onoja before his decision of writing a misguided piece, should have read (even) a little about the concept of identity deviant. To avoid the emergence of more Onoja’s (irrational subjective minds) in the nearest future, it is a responsibility to explicate the tenets of IDENTITY DEVIANT, and try as much as possible to relate the postulate with the aftermath of Zaria Massacre, leading to the reasons behind the emerged #BringBackOurZariaGirls campaign.
The process of acquiring a deviant identity unfolds through seven stages. The point of departure is getting caught and publicly identified. Are the Nigerian army not caught in Zaria massacre? Are the girls claimed to be abducted not present at the location of the army clampdown? If the girls were not abducted by the army, then where are they?
Second, others begin to think of them differently, called ‘‘retrospective interpretation,’’ reflecting back onto their pasts to see if their current and earlier behaviour can be recast differently. Who massacre members of the Islamic movement on 25th July 2014?
Third, as this news spreads, either informally or through official agencies of social control, individuals or group develop ‘‘spoiled identities’’, where their reputations become tarnished. The reputation of the military is increasingly tarnishing, especially for engaging in arson and shooting of females in their private parts.
Fourth, noted in Social Pathology that the dynamics of exclusion then set in, where certain groups of people may not want to associate with the newly labelled deviants, who become ostracized. It is clear that the Police and DSS does not fully support the military atrocities in Zaria, in fact, the Police labelled the military action as deviant, for they were side-lined and denied the right to operate as a recognized formal organization responsible to address internal tensions.
Fifth, the dynamics of inclusion, which make people labelled as deviant more attractive to others. Their very acts may lead individuals interested or engaged in similar forms of deviance to seek them out. Thus, as people move down the pathway of their deviant careers, they shift friendship circles, being pushed away from the company of some and welcomed into the others’ company. As the police and the DSS tried to distance themselves from the military action, unsympathetic and hungry minds like Onoja are struggling to associate with the bloodsucking army, in order to gain monetary benefit.
Sixth, others usually begin to treat those defined as deviant differently, often in a negative sense. As the Free Zakzaky campaign gained momentum, and the level of awareness is increasing within and outside Nigeria, people begin to view the Nigerian army as massacre mercenaries.
Seventh, and finally, people react to this treatment using ‘‘LOOKING GLASS SELVES.’’ In the culminating stage of the identity career, they internalize the deviant label and come to think of themselves differently. This is likely to affect their future behavior. Because of the fact that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has filed a comprehensive and factual report to various world organizations, human right activists, as well as the ICC, other security forces within the country are highly cautious of their actions against members of the Islamic movement In Nigeria, just to avoid repeating the historic mistake made by Nigerian army.
On a final note, if the #ZariaGirls were not abducted, we expect the culprits to present a substantive report of what actually happen to the missing girls. Where are they? If Onoja sees it as a fabrication, his sponsors will never make such claim. If according to Onoja, imitating the hashtag of the Chibok Girls campaign is a form of irresponsibility, for the parents of the Chibok girls it will be a different thing. Because they are in the better position to know the pain parents of the abducted Zaria girls are going through. What else? Mr. Man, the only way out is for your sponsors to officially account for the abduction, for a cheap propaganda will not work.
Sameer El-Hajj