Re:Buhari urges Shiites, Niger Delta militants to embrace peace

Re:Buhari urges Shiites, Niger Delta militants to embrace peace

A Nigerian news website "Premium Times" released the above news report in it's Saturday (31/12/2017) edition. An excerpt from the report stated:

"President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Shi’a Community and Niger Delta militants to embrace peace and always abide by the laws of the country.
The president said this in his New Year message to Nigerians issued in Abuja on Saturday."

It should be remembered that last December President Buhari sent the Nigerian army to attack the peaceful members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) under the leadership of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky. The Nigerian army committed heinous crimes against defenseless Nigerians, killed close to one thousand Nigerian civilians, burnt some Nigerians alive, killed most of the injured at a make-shift clinic, bombed the iconic Zaria Husseiniya which is a religious center, attacked and burnt down the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky and desecrated IMN grave yard. The Nigerian army spent three (3) days in perpetrating these heinous crimes and atrocities unchecked. To this day no single person have been arrested by the Nigerian government for the brutal and inhuman massacre.

After the massacre the Nigerian army and Kaduna state Governor Nasir Elrufai launched massive smear campaigns of calumny and demonization against IMN, Shia Islam and Iran. It will definitely surprise Nigerians when President Buhari in his New Year message said: “As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them too to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in. They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.’’

The call by President Buhari for "the Shia community to embrace peace" is groundless as the Nigerian Shia community have always being peaceful. For close to 40 years of its existence the IMN is always peaceful and was never part of any tribal or religious conflict in Nigeria. When the Nigerian army killed 33 IMN members that included 3 sons of Sheikh Zakzaky during the pro-Palestine AlQuds rally in Zaria, the IMN leader called for peace and asked his millions of followers not to even stage protest against the attack.

The call by President Buhari that IMN can not be an Island by itself is mischievous as IMN is always part of the Nigerian state. IMN is guided by the eternal words of Imam Ali (as) in its relationship with Nigerians. The Nigerian Muslims are brothers and sisters in faith and Nigerian Christians are brothers and sisters in humanity. IMN is the only Muslim group in Nigeria that invites Christians to its programs and activities and attend all programs and activities when invited by Christians. In this year's Christmas celebrations IMN leaders and members visited Churches across major cities of Northern Nigeria and such commendable gesture to enhance peaceful coexistence will be extended to Southern Nigeria next year.

When President Buhari said "the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law’’ this is a clear confession of guilt. Buhari's statement proves correct what all human rights organization have being saying about the monumental savagery and gross inhumanity of Nigerian security forces against IMN members. During the ZariaMassacre the Nigerian army shot Shia women in their private part and stabbed their breasts with Riffle bayonets chanting " No Shia in Nigeria ". During the Arbaeen massacre in Kano Nigerian security forces opened fire on peaceful Shia mourners unprovoked and killed more than 100 Nigerians.

It is grossly wrong to equate IMN and Niger Delta militants on the issue of peace. Niger Delta militants are well armed and attack pipelines and Oil facilities while IMN is not armed and have never attack any economic facility in Nigeria. It is better for President Buhari to direct his call for peace to his government, the Nigerian army and Governor Elrufai. Nigerians are asking this question as "why did the Nigerian government murdered close to one thousand women, children, men and the aged last December in Zaria and dumped their dead bodies in mass graves?"

On a last note, President Buhari should obey the court order to free Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife who are presently illegally detained by the Nigerian government. The Nigerian army murdered their three (3) sons in their presence during the ZariaMassacre and President Buhari is holding them in detention incommunicado for more than one year. This is the peak of inhuman wickedness, savagery and barbarism.

Harun Elbinawi