Zaria Massacre: The Inappropriateness and shortcomings associated with the Judicial Commission of Inquiry's report
Our attention was drawn to the leaked report presented by the Judicial commission of Inquiry established by Kaduna state government said to probe the cause of the clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the guardianship of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) and the Nigerian army on 12th - 14th December, 2015.
The report was presented to the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufa'i on Friday, 16th of July, 2016. The outcome though not expected to be like this, is full of ambiguities.The report failed to outline some major points that need to be expounded to the public.
The report urged the prosecution of specifically The General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army's 1st Division, major general Adeniyi Oyebade and some yet to be declared military officials who played roles in the perpetration of the attack.
However, the commission has tried to exonerate one forefront master minder in the attack, Malam Nasir El-Rufa'i; who established the kangaroo commission so as to deceive the gullible. After all, Mr. Nasiru was seen at Husainiyyah Baqiyatullah in saturday night during the attack, where he exchanged few words with the military sieging the holy Husainiyyah before his convoy finally kicked to Emir's palace.
It could be recalled that the same Mr. Nasiru ordered the demolition of Husainiyyah Baqiyatullah, the house of the revered leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky (H) in Gyallesu, the house of his mother, Fudiyya Islamic Center at Dan Magaji and Darul Rahama, a cemetery where martyrs of the movement are resting in peace. All in his attempt to destroy the physical evidence of the massacre.
The commision clearly acquit Mr. Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria from the list of culpable actors for criminal prosecution. The leaked report confirmed that "GOC of the Army's 1st Division, Kaduna, Mr. Oyebade, deployed soldiers to carry out such a large scale operation without recourse to the chain of command."
In a testimony to the commission, an officer in Mr. Buratai's security detail, said "After all entreaties to the protesters to leave the road failed, they decided to shoot their way through the blockade to prevent their principal from being attacked. The next day, Mr. Oyebade deployed troops to the shrine to arrest the leaders of the Shi'a group, which resulted in the killings."
What the report is showing here is nothing but Mr. Buratai know nothing about the massacre. This is something even a 3 days born kid can not believe, how can the military carry out an operation for morethan 48 hours without the consent of their Chief? Was Mr. Buratai sleeping while the operation was under execution?
If Mr. Oyebade can willfully deploy military to carry out an operation without the consent of Mr. Buratai it means he has either fooled him or the military are not working according to the law of engagement!
The next important person that the commission tried to acquint is the President, Mr. Buhari. Who declared that he can say nothing concerning the Massacre as panel was set to investigate the cause of the killings. Though Mr. Buhari during a televised interview on December 30th said "The victims invited the wrath of the military wrath upon themselves by hitting the chest of generals."
But the report by the commission said: "There was no evidence that there was the requisite delegation by the president to the officer who issued oral order for the deployment of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army for the cordon and search operation."
Here the commission is trying to show the public that the operation was carried out not with the concent of Mr. Buhari. Though, the killings drew worldwide condemnations, but the said Mr. Buhari kept mute after the attack.
Former military president of Nigeria, Late Sani Abacha once said; "If an attack took more than 3 hours without intervention from authority, the same authority is responsible in the attack." How could the military spent more than 48 hours brutally killing innocent civilians along Sokoto Road in Zaria, which is a major road; without the concert of Mr. President?
Credible reports further confirmed that the said Mr. Buhari was in Kaduna State attending a ceremony when the attack was in conduct.
The commission also raised unjust charge of culpable homicide against the members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria. "The commission found members of the IMN culpable in the death of an army officer, Dan Yakubu, a corporal, and recommended that those found culpable in the killing of the officer should be prosecuted." The report added.
Not withstanding, the said Dan Yakubu was established by Mr. Nasiru Rufa'i on his attempt to cover up their heinous crime and justify the massacre as 'head to head clash' between the Nigerian army and IMN members and also to blackmail IMN as well.
IMN has been conducting its activities peacefully for its almost four decade years of existence. No report of attack or killing was ever procured. Nevertheless, the IMN were always the victims of attacks and killings from the despotic Nigerian government and its stooges.
The commission entirely turned deep ears to the condition of the revered leader of IMN, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H); who has been in detention for more than 7 months without any trial. They failed to recommend wheter or not the revered leader (H) and others members of the movement in illegal custody be released. Though, the commission was given the due power to do so.
For their report to be credible, the commission need to similarly urged the immediate prosecution of these 3 leading actors in the attack. And establish a standard account on the condition of the illegally detained leader (H) and his members.
Najeeb Umar Maigatari
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016.