Successful and peaceful completion of Ashura processions has put to shame Nigerian government
This year’s Ashura procession is unique in many ways than one. The most obvious of course is that the successful and peaceful completion of the procession in all the places it was carried out in Nigeria exposes the lie that the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are prone to violence. The processions this year held in more than sixty (60) different towns and villages. This in itself is another reason why this year’s Ashura procession is unique. We will come to that shortly.
That the procession was conducted against all odds particularly in Kaduna and Sokoto states has put to shame the governors of these two states, Ahmed El-rufai and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal respectively.
First, the Kaduna state government started the unjustified harassment of people who were taking part in their religious duty in Kaduna and Zaria, where arms wielding police were sent to brutally attack them and forcibly disperse them. This scandalous pattern was copied and replicated by the Sokoto state government and even went further to announce an illegal ban on our religious practices and processions and arrested some for daring to go for the mourning sessions. By these intimidating tactics of theirs, they tried in vain to portray the Islamic Movement as a bunch of chaotic individuals whose processions are violent and dangerous and must not be allowed hold otherwise Armageddon would befall the country. However the procession was done and it ended peacefully in Sokoto as in Kaduna and Zaria without an incident, shaming the duo. There was therefore no justification whatsoever for heating the polity and the persecutions before the procession. It turned out that it was all attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it! Shame on both state governors in particular.
In their evil plot, they had earlier set the tone. The National Security Adviser (NSA) had misinformed the National Economic Council about a month earlier that the activities of the Islamic Movement are among their government’s serious security challenges, which according to his laughable assertion was sequel to “evaluation of intelligence reports.” These were followed by intensification of activities by their planted agents, who also tried in vain through words and certain acts to provoke a response from their paid masters. By their miscalculations, certain utterances by these paid agents and “sons of Hamas” would be sufficient to divert focus that could then be used to do a “Python dance” and finish up the genocide they started two years ago.
Few people realize the link between this “python dance” and what they had planned against the Movement. In their warped imagination, they should quickly commence their satanic dance before the commencement of the Ashura commemoration activities of Ashura procession and Arbaeen trek. It would be easier to prove the baseless assertion of NSA Monguno that lists Islamic Movement and in particular what he labeled as “Shiite ideology” as threatening the “peace, stability and security of Nigeria,” or at least so they thought. It was the very reason why a notorious mass murderer, who pioneered the genocide in Zaria and the mass grave, Brig Gen (then a colonel – he was promoted after the Zaria genocide) A. K. Ibrahim was transferred to Ohafia, Abia state as Brigade Commander of 14 brigade to do the “python dance.” Brig AK Ibrahim is a ruthless mass murderer, who lied under oath at the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the extrajudicial murder of members of the Movement. He denied the killings and the existence of mass grave until the confession by the Secretary to Kaduna state government.
One can’t fail to notice the striking similarity between the Zaria massacre and the so-called “Python Dance II.” The central theme of the plot was the same, because the authors are the same and the executioners are the same. It was the same script, only being cast in different geographic locations.
According to reports, “trouble” started when members of IPOB were alleged to have blocked the FMC-Word Bank Road in Umuahia metropolis denying access to members of the 145th Battalion of the Nigerian Army. In Zaria, it was similarly alleged that IMN members blocked the road of the Chief of Army Staff. In Umuahia, the soldiers were said to have fired warning shots in the air to disperse the crowd. In Zaria, they were said to have tried to persuade the crowd verbally before some members of the crowd were alleged to have beaten “the chest of a General” and started throwing stones and shooting. In Umuahia, the soldiers said one of them; Corporal Kolawole Mathew and a female passer-by were injured. In Zaria, they alleged that one Corporal Yakubu DanKaduna was killed and Col. Babayo was injured. In both Umuahia and Zaria cases, they enlisted certain media outlets and fake “activists and campaigners” to call what happened a “clash”. The number of casualties were and are still being denied by the army in both cases, until in the Zaria case, they were exposed by spirited humanitarian bodies who carried out thorough professional independent investigative inquiry and came up with undeniable reports that now forced certain government officials into partial confession. And the similarities go on and on.
It seems fairly certain that they rushed to do the Python dance before Ashura so that they could do an anaconda dance with members of the Movement during Ashura procession and Arbaeen trek having already done a Mamba dance or was it a Cobra one during the Zaria genocide in December 2015.
This year’s procession however, took them by surprise despite the government having started in their traditional way of blackmail with so much impunity, misuse of office and disregard to our constitutionally guaranteed rights by using state-sponsored terror tactics by government’s security agents. By the time the spell that held them back waned, the processions had long ended. It was a unique window of opportunity to show the world that IMN is a nonviolent Movement and nothing will happen should they be allowed to exercise their rights to practice their faith. This miracle has allowed the world to see through their misstatements about the Movement being a dangerous bunch of violent lots. The world has seen that these processions end peacefully like other programs of the Movement. There is therefore no longer any reason or justification to seek to limit the activities of the Movement on the pretense of fear of violence. This is unique and we can proudly show it anywhere and anytime.
Another uniqueness in this year’s Ashura procession is demonstrated by the exponential increase in the number of towns and villages in which the processions took place. Similarly, the number of people that participated equally increased remarkably. Prior to the Zaria massacre, much less than half of these towns routinely conducted the Ashura procession. This year however, the number of towns and people that came out ready to associate with and participate in the Ashura commemoration more than doubled in spite of the fact that significant threat to their lives and properties as demonstrated by the antecedents of government and their security forces existed. It showed that people were not cowed by the terror tactics of the government and most certainly, were not deterred. It also showed clearly that people feel safe enough to join us. A very unique fact indeed.
To cap up the unique nature of this year’s Ashura day and its activities, is the fact that it fell on first October, a day that the country should be celebrating its independence. Ashura is a solemn religious obligation to us. It is usually marked as a mourning period – we wear black attire and cry. Thus rather than joyously celebrate independence, we mourned, wore black clothes and cried. Could it have been coincidence that these two days fell on the same day this year? A closer look would suggest otherwise. For independence at this material point in time, the citizens should be mourning with the type of heartless rulers unfortunately at the helm of affairs at every level of governance at the moment. For many, it was therefore double mourning.
© #FreeZakzaky Campaign Committee, October 2017.