Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky With Peace: Why Detention?
Engr. Dr Bala Abdullahi
Since after the Zaria pogrom in December, 2015, which left 1000+ innocent Nigerians either killed or injured, several campaign of calumny was insinuated by the perpetrators to cover their heinous crime against humanity. On the other hand campaign of free Zakzaky was launched by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and other patriotic citizens to inform the world what actually transpired between the IMN and the Nigerian Army in December, 2015. Among the activities of the campaign is inscribing of “FREE ZAKZAKY” on walls in some strategic places in the country. But some people were paid to change the mission of the IMN by adding “DON’T” before the original statement which changed it to read as “don’t free Zakzaky”.
Having realizing this unreasonable distortion of the mission of good people of Nigeria, the members of IMN patiently used to add “WHY” (to the added “DON’T” ) with question mark at the end to read “WHY DON’T FREE ZAKZAKY?” . One of the answer of the sponsored hooligans gave to such question in one location in Kano, drew my attention to this piece. The answer was simply given as “BECAUSE HE IS THREAT TO PEACE”. The answer will surely sound ironical to any right thinking citizen who’s conscious is not for sell and independent in his or her thinking. I personally asked myself whether the writer know the meaning of the word “PEACE”. Also apart from the paid individuals who were hired to propagate lies, they are some citizens that were misled either by media or some commercial clerics on the actual mission of the Islamic movement in Nigeria (IMN) led by Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky. Some of those cleric did so out of envy due to the growing number of the membership of IMN or seeking for recognition in the authority or both. Unfortunately, we are living in a country where most of its citizens didn’t follow the happenings in their own society. Most of them depends on someone or some media (both national and international) to tell them what is happening in their own society.
From the little I know about the generosity and patriotism of this gentle and humble scholar as well as the activities of IMN, I can proudly say that there is no cleric in our country that preaches peace, unity and harmony as Sheik Zakzaky is doing. And there is no movement or group of Nigerians that conduct activities that accommodate all citizens of Nigeria as IMN is doing. The following few points buttress my points:
Sheik Zakzaky is leading the only movement which has no record of violence for close to forty years of its activities. All events of IMN end – up peaceful, whenever any issue arise, its always come the government or government sponsored individuals. Violence is not and will never be among the principles and policy of the movement, in fact the doctorate of Shia (which most of the members adhere to) does not allow splitting blood of any creature.
The Sheik Zakzaky led movement is the only movement which draw membership from all school of thoughts, tribes and all other ideology. Even some Christians identified themselves as members of the movement because they understand that it is for humanity and justice.
Think about it. This is at the time when some clerics are calling for attack on anyone that differs with their ideology.
Sheik Zakzaky is the only scholar in Nigeria who organizes annual unity week, where scholar from different ideologies are invited to deliver speeches on different topics especially those related with unity of the citizens. The main aim of the week event is for the clerics to come closer to one another for the objective of good understanding and respect their differences for peaceful co-existence. Apart from Sheik Muhammad Nasiru Kabara (of blessed memory) who visited some scholars during his time, none of those clerics (especially those with this government) ever try it even once. So while Sheik Zakzaky is busing building people for the national development, most of the scholars are engaged in activities leading to destroying people by calling for disunity (even within muslims) and shedding blood of anyone who differ with them in their ideology. It is well known that some of them openly called for killing people on their pulpits.
So who is threat to the unity of the country?
Everyone Nigerian knows Kaduna of being a volatile state in terms of religion/ethnic crises. It has a bad records of religious crises at different times either during military or democracy dispensation. But the situation has changed for better since when Sheik Zakzaky and some few scholars from Islam and Christianity come out and fought against it. Having realized the efforts of Sheik Zakzaky towards peaceful co-existance in the state in particular and the nation in general, the one time military Governor of the state, Colonel Ja’afaru Isa presented a commendation letter and an award of been a man of peace to the humble Sheik.
The actual meaning of such award was clearly shown to all, from his reaction when over thirty members of IMN were brutally killed (including his three biological undergraduate sons) in 2014. The patriotic scholar shown restraint from any violence and took a legal action as he did when his disciplines were attacked in Sokoto states. Whom do you think among the scholars (with even tenth of his followers) can do what he did? Despite the fact a conservative’s estimate has shown that more ten million Nigerians participated in the symbolic trek of fortieth day of Ashura of 2015, but still the Sheik called them to be calm.
Also the steps taken by the members of IMN after the December, 2015 senseless and inhuman killings of its members by the Nigerian Army is a good example of the training given to them by the able Sheik. Awareness campaign and legal actions were taken in response to the attack and illegal detention of their leader, which show high level of patriotism of the members of IMN.
How can someone with these virtues will be a threat to the peace (provided the meaning of “peace” remains as it is)?
Nigerians are eye – witnesses of what happened after Buhari lost the national election in 2011. Supporters of Buhari took to the street after the announcement of the election results protesting its outcome. According to the human right watch, the three days riot left more than 800 people dead and over 65,000 displaced. The report shown that in Kaduna state, Christians suffered in the areas where muslims are majority while the story is opposite in Christians areas like Zonkwo, Kafachan and Matsirga. A lecturer at a college on the outskirts of Zaria made a very shocking revelation, where many students were attacked by mobs inside the campus and a lecturer and some students were killed right inside staff quarters.
During such avoidable and unfortunate event, some Christians took refuge in Sheik’s house and around the quarters where his followers gave them maximum protection, treat their injuries and fed them. Some of them are still testifying the gesture of the incomparable Sheik. At such time some clerics (both from Muslims and Christians) were busy encouraging their followers to participate in such heinous acts. But on the other hand Sheik Zakzaky and his followers were engaged on enlightment campaign against the riot and against shedding of innocent blood. Also the medical wing (ISMA) of the IMN helped the victims of the riot free of charge.
Is this action part of the threat to the PEACE? Then what is PEACE?
Members of the IMN engage in community development projects in their immediate environment to alleviate the suffering of the masses who are neglected by the government. During maulud events, donations are gaven to public/private schools and hospitals while clothes, furniture, food stuff, e.t.c. are distributed to the needy in the society. Blood donation is a well-known national service render by the members of IMN. Some hospitals on several occasions presented awards to the ISMA of IMN on this great service to humanity. Other community services render by the IMN members are environmental sanitation such as clearing of gutters and graveyard as well as digging of boreholes to some community.
For anyone with common sense and whose faculty of thinking is working well, will wonder, how Sheik will be a threat to PEACE. This activities deserves commendation from a civilized society.
On several occasions during nationwide strike, ISMA help patients in the public hospitals when doctors down tools due to dispute between them and the government. ISMA always took over the activities of the hospitals to rescue the lives of the patients. All these are born out of the guide of the Sheik to his followers that they should be building the citizens not destroying them (contrary to what other clerics are doing).
A part from the unity week, the resource of the Islamic movement in Nigeria organizes a Sallah feast annually where Nigerians from different strata of life come and have a lunch with the Sheik. During the event which usually takes place after “idil adha”, the humble Sheik usually deliver a speech and some attendees are also given chance to give a talk. Last year’s event (2015) was attended by Mr Solomon Dalong (the present minister of youth and sports), Dr Abdullahi Wase ( A renown security expert), Pastor Yohana Buru and many respected dignitaries. They all made remarkable comments and commendations on the Sheik’s efforts on the Nation building. The Sheik himself centered his discussion on the responsibilities of every Nigerians on the Nation building. Other respective personalities that once attended the sallah feast are Hon Ebenezer Oyetakin (Human right activist), Professor Dahiru Yahya ( a renowned Professor), Late Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf (a renowned Journalist), Dr Kabir Tsafe (Former Petroleum minister and director of Arewa house, Kaduna) and Alh. Ahmad Aliyu ( cikan soron Zazzau and district head of unguwar Mu’azu).
Is calling Nigerians to Nation building a threat to PEACE?
Sheik Zakzaky is humble, patient and patriotic citizen of Nigeria who sacrificed everything for justice to prevail in our country. He has shown his loves for the nation more than all those in the authority because he remained peaceful after killing his sons in 2014 and other attacks on him and his followers. The 2014 killing was condemned by some people in the present authority like Malam Adamu Adamu (Education minister) and Nasir A. Elrufai (the present governor of Kaduna state). But the present administration brutally massacre over 1000 of his followers including his three additional sons within just 48 hours. His wife and his good self were shot several times and kept incommunicado for long time. They are denied proper medical treatment and are not charge to any competent court. Also hundreds of his followers are still either in prison or missing since after the attack.
The corpses of those killed by the Nigerian army were not given to their relatives, instead they were given a mass burial without the consent of their families, which is against national and international rules. Apart from the lives of the innocent armless Nigerians that were intentionally terminated, all property belonging to the IMN in Zaria were destroyed, even graveyards of his mother and other members of the movement were not spared. But still Sheik remain calm and asked for a peaceful way of challenging the perpetrators of this senseless act. I want the reader to imagine this happen to a cleric (especially the type who are with the present authority), with dedicated followers estimated to be more than 20 million (who are ready to sacrifice all what they have on his life), what will be his reaction? But Sheik Zakzaky (when visited) always emphases on continuation of IMN activities, prayers and peaceful demonstrations. He also hired lawyers to challenge the illegal attacks and their continue detention by the Nigerian government.
There are numerous points to be cited on this, but to cut it short, the government (having realize the gravity of their action), resorted to propaganda either directly or through some hired agents to help them cover their crime to humanity. No matter the campaign engage by the government and coining several illogical reasons for their inhuman actions, the crime that claimed about 1000 citizens cannot be swept under the carpet. Among those killed were Medical doctors, Engineers, Pharmacist (and other medical personnel), Journalists, NYSC members, Qur’anic memorizers and many students of tertiary institutions. Women, children, aged and even infants were brutally killed. Some citizens were burnt alive and the also corpses of those killed were not spared. How can such heinous act be covered by simply hiring pathological liars? That is why since then the ugly faces of the falsehood has been dragged into the mud of shame and disgrace. Because their attempts to cover this sadistic and uncivilized action of Nigerian army failed woefully in the face of any right and independent thinker of our great nation. Also this has tarnished the image of Nigeria in the face of all civilized nations because this killing is happening in 21st century. Another wonderful thing is that the soldiers who are paid out of our hard earned taxes are killing us (citizens) instead of protecting the sovereignty of our nation.
From the foregoing, it can be cleared to all right and independent thinking citizen of Nigeria that:
• IMN is not a sectarian movement rather it is a movement for everyone (Muslims, Christians and others) seeking for justice to all without divisions and segregation among the citizens. Calling for justice engaged by IMN is what worries the oppressors whom always what to syphon the nation wealth.
• It is the only movement in the country that carries everyone along from different tribes, school of thoughts and faiths. While other are busy calling for attack (both verbal and physical) on those that differ from their ideology, IMN members are busy campaigning for citizens to come together for nation building and peaceful coexistence.
• IMN encourages Nigerians to seek ways for liberating the country from the exploiters that subjected the citizens to abject poverty and insecurity. Liberation from those that sell and enslave the citizen in favor of their masters (so called western powers)
• IMN has never and will never engage in any violence acts in seeking redness for the brutal action against it by the president, COAS and the Kaduna state Governor. It will continue using knowledge through public awareness and legal provision of the country.
• IMN is built and consolidated on justice, fairness and dignity calling for unity and peaceful coexistence among the Nigerian citizens. I asked: “Who among all the clerics in the country enjoys admiration and support from people across faiths?”
Based on the foregoing, Sheik Zakzaky is supposed to be respected, dignified and protected by the authority due to his sterling qualities of promoting unity, development and peaceful coexistence of the country. The methods he adopted made tremendous impact in the muslim/Christian relationship throughout the country by promoting peaceful coexistence and ethno-religious tolerance. I conclude by saying: there is no reason for the December killing of the IMN members, destroying their properties and detaining their leader, his wife and some members.
SO FREE ZAKZAKY NOW.