Zaria Massacre: Wonders shall never End

Abdulmumin Giwa

After a killing spree perpetrated by the Nigerian Army on members of the Islamic Movement in Zaria in December last year, that was celebrated by the Nigerian government, the Nigerian Army and other sponsors of active terrorism across the globe notably Saudi Arabia, the Nigerian government has finally decided to present some members of the Movement it abducted before a court of law.

Initially those abducted by the military in Zaria on the fateful day of the attack that included women and children were taken to the police. They were joined by others that were abducted in Kaduna for protesting against the Nigerian Army killing spree that took place in Zaria. This is not talking about thirteen others that were killed in Kaduna during the protest march.
All of them were handed over to the police in Kaduna from where females and under-aged were released. For the rest, not even the seriously injured were allowed freedom from that day.

They did what they knew best how to do, which is to manipulate the laws and legalize the abduction and detention of the IMN members using the corrupt machinery of the judiciary. More so, it was made easier for them because those involved, the victims, belonged to minority faith group that is despised by those in authority who could not hide their sectarian sentiments. The government quickly exploited this opportunity and sorted for court orders to keep them in jail and they were transferred to Kaduna prison.

This is not talking about hundreds of others that were not even handed over to police but are being kept in military detention facilities around the country. At least those in Kaduna prison could take away the public attention from those in illegal detention with the Army. They have been denied any access to civil judicial procedures in violation of their fundamental human rights.

In order to bury its shame and its crime against humanity, the Army had since buried hundreds of those it massacred in mass graves that are not even talked about by the authorities even as the news has gone round including pictures of the burial sites.
They spent not less than sixty days in a state sponsored illegal detention in Kaduna prison as the government actors continued to invent ways they could use in justifying their illicit actions. During this period, a lot of efforts were made by the legal team of the IMN to secure the release of the members of IMN but all to no avail.

Constitutionally, it is the duty of the police to collect reports from the victims and the Army that handed them over to them and present them before a court of law for legal processes. At that point of handing over the Army must also submit to the police all the necessary evidences to prove why they were arrested. If they were caught with arms and others implicative things, all should be handed over to the police so that its prosecutor could file a case in court.

Earlier, and on three occasions, the General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adeniyi, who also proudly announced that he led the operation, and that he followed the rule of engagement in so doing, and that the Army used minimal force, and also declared that Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was in protective custody with the Army, also announced that the members of the IMN had no weapons but catapults, machetes and sticks. He made this declaration again in another press conference where the Army made public their successes in the fight against crimes in 2015. He displayed arms seized from cattle rustlers, armed robbers and other terrorists. When the media mistakenly described those arms as belonging to the IMN, the Army expressed anger over it and issued a press statement saying those arms were not seized from the members of the IMN. He repeated that they were arms seized from cattle rustlers and armed robbers in their various security operations of 2015. He also stated that what they seized form the IMN have been handed over to the police which included catapults, machetes and sticks.

Since then it was clear to the general public that there were no such things as arms seized from the IMN and everybody agreed that the IMN was unarmed including right groups who accused the Army of using excessive strength on unarmed civilians.

Presenting the case before the court, the members of the Islamic Movement among other charges were accused of illegal possession of firearms. Which were not brought before the court claiming that the arms were in Lagos. Definitely wonders shall never end.

For reasons best known to them they decided to set up a court inside the prison where the entire court went to the prison selecting only two journalists to enter and see for themselves where the charges were read. Members of the IMN were charged for murder attempt and public disturbance among others.

One wonders what these arms are and from whom they were seized that security required that they be taken to Lagos. One also wonders why all of a sudden the charge of arms possession was re-invented even after all the declarations that there were no arms. One wonders what they would bring from Lagos and claim that they were arms seized from members of the IMN.

All these are happening under a claimed democracy that violates the rule of law to ensure that its whims and caprices were satisfied. Illegal abduction, illegal detention, false charges, extra-judicial killings, rights violation and abuse and manipulation of the judiciary and its processes by the state to oppress innocent civilians are the features of this Nigerian democracy. One wonders what this democracy is. Wonders shall never end.