The Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky had advised the then incoming government of President Muhammadu Buhari to reorient the Nigerian army in order not to inherit an army that “sees citizens as enemies.”
He made the call at the annual parade ceremony of the Volunteer Guards (Hurras) of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria at the Zaria Polo ground on Saturday June 11, 2015.
He explained that the Nigerian military lacks the necessary discipline to deal with civilian citizens with courtesy. He maintained that “the only thing the Nigerian Army specializes in is to kill unarmed citizens in cold blood, and this is what it takes great pride in.
According to him, the present government should not expect a good result by using such a disoriented military to settle disputes or crises, for the Nigerian military is in itself an agent of crisis and destruction.
Citing the 2014 Quds Day massacre in Zaria in which the Nigerian military in broad daylight killed 34 people including his 3 sons, the Sheikh said that the Nigerian military exhibited high sense of irresponsibility and wickedness, which also exposed them as the real Boko Haram. “That day we saw the real faces of Boko Haram in their full gear and uniform, and it turned out that Boko Haram was nothing but the government of the day”.
Sheikh Zakzaky described as ridiculous how after the extra-judicial killings and torture, a Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army would write a memo to the Army Headquarters indicating that the Nigerian military had won a war with no casualty and had captured prisoners of war and one ambulance as a war booty.
“Nigerian military is at best “mere wild beasts” he added. Their actions has tarnished the prestige of the nation across the world. In the psyche of a Nigerian soldier, citizens have no right, but are enemies meant to be killed. The Nigerian soldier thinks he can do anything, having the license to kill and harass the citizens”.He wondered how a top ranking military officer in Nigeria did not differentiate between beastly oppression of citizens and a war.
He pointed out that recruitment in the Nigerian Army was deliberately skewed to favour certain interests for what he described as “selfish and dangerous agenda.”
The Sheikh also narrated the unrelenting assassination attempts on his life by the past government of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan using the military, and in conjunction with foreign military intelligence, which he said woefully failed.
Speaking on the role of the Volunteer Guards of the IMN (Hurras), Sheikh Zakzaky said, it is one arm of the Islamic Movement charged with the responsibility of maintaining orderliness during our events and occasions, traffic control, firefighting as well as provision of humanitarian services.
He gave examples of when the Hurras were involved in saving lives and property during fire incidents and the provision of other life-saving services in the society. He decried the criticisms of enemies of the Islamic Movement who turn a blind eye to such contributions offered. He said, the Hurras are deliberately and mischievously misrepresented as an armed wing of the Movement just to instill fear in the people, in order to present the Movement as violent.
“Nobody talks about us having schools, saving lives during crisis, donating blood to save lives, offering selfless services to the society and such other voluntary activities. However, such critics are quick to project the Hurras as militant wing of the Movement”, he lamented.
This was first published by numerous news outlets in June 2015