When does time for justice come?
By Mohammed Ibraheem Zakzaky
On the 25th of July 2014, during a peaceful procession to mark the annually held international Quds Day (observed all over the world and in this particular country, every last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan since 1984), three of my brothers were shot dead by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, along with 31 other people in Zaria, Kaduna State.
That makes it 10 for each of the three, plus one! In other words, 34 unarmed men, women and children (including a seven year-old-girl and a four-year-old boy) were brutally murdered by the very establishment which owes its existence to the sole purpose of protecting their lives and property, against all internal and external threats.
Only on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 on my way to Kano, an obviously intoxicated police officer, one Sgt. Shitu Yahya, pointed his weapon at me and threatened to shoot me at an arbitrarily established road block.
That was not the first time I had such an encounter with supposed security men that were intoxicated by drugs of an unknown kinds. On each of those occasions I was lucky to have come off with no physical bruises. Many are not so lucky.
This leaves me wondering if this is my country. Is this government truly of the people? Who are these beneficiaries and where are they?
I am fully aware that I am not the first or the second, or even the thousandth citizen to have been intimidated and unlawfully threatened or worse still, be killed by what has increasingly become an alien government that only seems to be good at harming its own people and serving interests that are contrary to that of their citizens.
This may seem all too emotional, but having lost three brothers, I do believe that I deserve to have my voice heard.
Like the millions who have become the victims of the ‘inadequacies’ of the present administration by way of deaths, destruction, sorrow, anguish and ruin, I find myself in an indescribable position.
How do you describe losing three brothers in a single day? How would those in Chibok whose beloved daughters, sisters and friends ended up missing for 282 days now describe their tribulations?
What words can anyone who has ended up on the wrong side of this government’s ‘transformation’ use to describe their predicament?
Like so many hard working young Nigerians, I live in a simple apartment, surviving on the juices of my own hard work, taking no part in anything other than what I have to and peacefully coexisting with my neighbors, in the hope that by doing so peace can and will endure. Only to be hit by a sobering bulldozer that shatters everything so quickly and so suddenly!
If all the indiscriminate killings of innocent people all over this country, such as the attack in Kano on 28th November, 2014 or the one in Bauchi on 22nd December, 2014 and countless others, that have effectively riddled our newspapers, can be described as the work of outlaws at large and beyond the reach of the law, this would not apply to my 34 brothers.
My brothers were killed by men wearing the uniform of the Nigerian Army. The names and ranks of their officers are known.
Nevertheless, I am yet to hear anything tangible from either the Military Board of Inquiry or the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
This leaves me wondering what the implications are when men in uniform can do whatever they want, with no repercussions whatsoever.
Any one of us could be the next victim of these intoxicated buffoons with guns taking lives recklessly on a daily basis with impunity.
Every single one of us could end up as part of a duly mentioned statistical figure in titles such as we have seen in news reports in the last six years such as: 34 killed in Zaria, or suicide bomber kills more than 34, or 34 shot dead by ‘gunmen’ or all the numbers beyond 34 that have been sacrificed on the altar of the puny ambitions and greed of despicable men.
My appeal to us all is to wake up and come to our senses. Let us realize that we are currently faced with an establishment that needs to be changed not as a matter of convenience, but rather as a matter of necessity.
What is at stake is nothing less than the survival of all of us. Allowing murderers and cut throats of the worst kind, to roam freely and proudly about has given all of us a taste of what is to come.
For the last five years, we got five of the bloodiest years of our history as Nigerians. What we are left with is a great mountain of corpses (my three brothers included), crisscrossed by streams of flowing blood, streams of torment that join to form rivers of pain, sorrow, anguish, despair and hopelessness.
We cannot continue this way. Things must change, and there is no more appropriate time for this change than now. It is time to wipe our sweat and tears. It is time to stop all this blood-letting.
What I want is to share no street with the killers of my brothers, Ahmad, Hamid and Mahmud.
When does the time for justice come? When?