Reflections

My Relationship With Neighbors In Gyellesu – Sheikh Zakzaky

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has said people relocated to Gyellesu quarters of Zaria because of his stay in the area, which made the area safe of all crises.

He was addressing a group of youths mainly from the Gyellesu quarters and the neighbouring Tudun wada area of Zaria some years back on the need to maintain good neighborliness.

He said, “Since my stay in this area some 14 years ago, we have seen changes in this area, in terms of robbers invading this neighborhood – that has ceased.” Activities of petty thieves equally stopped so much as “even the fowls have some respite,” he said.

This good relationship with neighbors was even extended to other areas, especially during crises, when he did all he could to see that eruption of crises and violence was prevented not only in Gyellesu, but in all other places where members of the Islamic Movement were, in Kaduna and other places.

He cited example of the election crisis of 2011, when “people were incited to violence,” and started burning people’s houses and soldiers were sent to shoot indiscriminately. “We did all we could to help.” He said they did that because “we felt that was wrong. It is wrong to burn places if you are angered. It is equally wrong for soldiers to shoot indiscriminately. Both were definitely wrong,” he explained.

He told the story of someone who left the neighborhood and his house was burnt in his new settlement whereas the house he left in Gyellesu was not burnt. He was regretting leaving the area. According to the Sheikh, people now crave to live in this neighborhood because of its assured security and safety. He quoted someone who was overheard saying, “the only reason why he liked staying in Gyellesu, was because it is the only place one would feel secured so much as to sleep outside with a peace of mind.”

This is quite contrary to the fairytale the government had been trying to push down the throats of Nigerians that the neighbors were relieved when Nigerian army brutally invaded Gyellesu to kill nearly a thousand members of the Movement, shoot and arrest the Sheikh and his wife and finally raze and demolish his residence.

During the only Presidential Media Chat in December 2015, Buhari had alleged that neighbors were complaining about Sheikh Zakzaky’s stay in Gyellesu. The same allegation was flouted by governor Nasiru El-Rufai, who did all he could to change the truth of the Sheikh’s good relationship with his neighbors. During the fasting most month in 2016, he sent in thugs to confiscate grains usually distributed to neighbors by the Sheikh each Ramadan. He also used his powers to spread rumours that the grains were poisoned.

The Federal government took their joke too far when they said they were keeping Sheikh in “protective custody,” because if they left him he could be killed by neighbors. The clownish aspect to this fairytale was given by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, who said that they did not obey the court judgement of releasing the Sheikh and providing him accommodation in any town of his choice, because nobody wanted to be his neighbor.

However, this is the Sheikh himself talking to the youths in his neighborhood about the good relationship he has had with neighbors and the positive impact his stay had on the area, so much so that people craved to pack into his neighborhood.

View the clip here:

Categories: Reflections, Video

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