Shiites, El-Zakzaky and APC’s legal snafu

MORE than two years after he was detained in a so-called “protective custody” shortly after the December 2015 clash between Shiites and the military in Zaria, Kaduna State, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the sect’s leader, has been charged in court with, among other counts, murder of one soldier and wounding of another.

Nothing was said of the 347 Shiite members killed and buried in two mass graves by the same security forces who engaged them in the fight at the gates of the sect’s headquarters.

Nothing was also said about the court judgements ordering him to be released and compensated. Nothing was said, too, about his wife who was charged with him, but whom the secret service had said insisted on her own volition on staying with her husband in detention.

An eight-count charge was brought against the sect leader, his wife, and two other Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) members. The Kaduna State government is so powerful that it will not offer the people any explanation why it took more than two years to file a simple eight-count charge against only four suspects. And while the charges seemed to be a response to the continuing protest of IMN members on Kaduna and Abuja streets, it also seems clear that the state government working in tandem with the federal government is determined to keep the Shiite leader locked up indefinitely.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) claims to be a great proponent of the rule of law, loves and is eager to promote democratic principles, and aspires to run a responsive and ethical government.

But the Kaduna State government, together with soldiers in 2015, did not flinch at the killing of more than 300 Shiite members, was not alarmed by its own insensitivity of refusing to document and identify those killed, flaunted its power by demolishing the headquarters of the sect in Zaria, arguing that the sect was never liked by its neighbours anyway, and celebrated what it described as its proaction in forestalling the emergence of another Boko Haram sect in IMN.

Let Kaduna State go on with the trial of the four Shiite members in a mock acknowledgement of the rule of law.

The time will come sometime in the future when the dead 347 Shiite members will get justice, and when all those who participated in the killings and the suppression of truth will be called to account. That day will come, whether democracy survives or not.

This piece first appeared in The Nation, posted by

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