I was shocked when my attention was drawn to a claim by a faceless NGO that goes by the name ‘Coalition of Arewa CSO for Progress and Change’ that is no doubt run by some jobless fools that could feed on anything at all, even on human blood.
The shameless group claimed that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN paid N250m to one ghost that goes by the name Dr. Idris Ahmad, whose profile is yet to be determined to discredit the Nigerian Army under Gen. Tukur Buratai. The story was reported and given special coverage in the media without regards to the ethics of the practice that requires balancing.
As this is yet to be assimilated by the public, just a few days later, another faceless group claiming to be a pan Igbo group that calls itself SERG emerged with yet another stupidity embarrassing and disgracing itself in public. This group claims that the IMN should be declared a terror group by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime.
I was quick to notice that this is the work of the same people wearing different faces but due to their lack of intelligence and understanding of the public psychology they operated hastily and emotionally hurrying to collect and share their proceeds.
I was just about responding to the first claim that N250m was paid to someone to discredit the Nigerian army under the incapable Gen. Buratai whose activities have recorded a lot of human rights flaws and lack of professionalism but with the emergence of the second group, I have to now merge the two together and address the real perpetrator behind the scene.
Following the clampdown on the IMN, the extra-judicial killings and mass murder of its members from 12th-14th of December 2015 by the Nigerian Army led by its chief, over 1000 members of the IMN, who were unarmed worshippers made up of mostly women and children were butchered by the Army in the most notorious and brutal manner one could ever imagine. Their crime on that day was attending the celebration of the coming of the birth month of Prophet Muhammad SAWA.
Initially the story of the mass killing was coming only from the IMN as the Army had taken over all the propaganda machinery telling the world conflicting stories. They claimed that the group blocked the way of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS and he killed his way through by killing only six to pass. They also shamelessly claimed that the IMN was after the life of the COAS but he managed to escape. In fact the COAS even went to report to the Nigerian Human Rights Commission NHRC that his life was threatened by the IMN.
Somehow, some questions arose that raised doubt on the army in the eyes of the public. The Army chief claimed he was blocked at a particular location and he killed six to make his way, but why did the killing persisted for two days in three other different locations that were several kilometers away from where the blockade took place? Why was the residence of the IMN leader attacked? Is the punishment for blocking the COAS and his heavily armed convoy by unarmed civilians direct mass murder and extra-judicial killing by law?
Being an accomplice in the crime against humanity, the Kaduna state governor Nasiru el-Rufai set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI to investigate the issue made up of some in-plants whose duty is basically to demonize the IMN using their sectarian sentiments.
The JCI issued a report indicting the Nigerian Army and revealing to the world that the Army chief killed 347 not six as he earlier claimed. It didn’t stop there, in total violation of international and local laws especially the Geneva Convention, the 347 IMN members extra-judicially killed by the COAS and his men were also buried in a mass grave at Mando village close to Kaduna, something the Army denied until the JCI revelation.
How they did the killing is even worse than anything one can imagine. The revered leader of the IMN Sheikh ibraheem Zakzaky whose residence was attacked by the heavily armed soldiers was shot severally at close range that he could have been arrested by the soldiers not for the mischievous plan of murdering him in cold blood. He lost an eye in that encounter and the mechanical function of a limb. His wife was also shot severally in the belly and both of them have been refused treatment by the Nigerian government which is keeping them in illegal detention acting in contempt of the federal high court order.
Earlier, the Nigerian army had killed three of his sons. This time around, they killed three more, making the total number of his children killed by the Nigerian Army six. At the point of the killing of the children, no one would forget how the soldiers blew off the head of the youngest boy and his brains splashed on the body of his father. The next to him was slaughtered by the soldiers with gunshots in the throat.
This is not talking about the manner with which many were burned alive or thrown to the ground from story buildings or even how already helpless and injured persons were shot dead at close range by the soldiers to make sure they were dead or even how sharp objects were pierced into the private parts of women.
One very wicked incident is the one they threw the elder sister of Sheikh Zakzaky into a room along with his nephew and set the room ablaze. The old woman was shouting “are you going to burn us alive” until she died. If you don’t call these acts state terrorism what other name would you give to them?
A lot of people escaped with several degrees of injury while others were lucky to have escaped without injury and my wife and child are some of them. There are thousands of witnesses out there living with the tremor.
Despite all these brutalities, the IMN with its membership of about 20 million did not take the law into its hands instead it sorted redress through peaceful and legal means. It took the case to the federal high court where the fundamental rights of the IMN leader were enforced and an order for his release, compensation, provision of a new residence and personal police protection was issued by the court. The Buhari government refused to obey or respect the court and the IMN leader is still under illegal detention over one year after the judgment for which the IMN members continue to peacefully protest.
For the issue of the claims of paying N250m to some ghost to indict the army, if the IMN has up to N250m million to pay for discrediting the army, it would have used it in catering for the thousands of widows and orphans created by the COAS and his men. It would have used it in treating those who emerged from the killings with complications. It would have used it in giving a better life to those children whose parents were murdered by the army and have to be living on donations from other IMN members. Some families were even completely wiped out by the Army in the massacre, the father the mother and the children all killed by soldiers. Where is the braveness of the army when they spend two days shooting at unarmed men, women and children trying to dock and hide? This is like the case of an elephant priding itself with stepping on an ant.
And for the wishful suggestion of declaring IMN a terror organization, I have sited acts of state terrorism perpetrated by the Buhari regime, a situation that has led the International Criminal Court in The Hague to step up its investigation on the matter, I will like the SERG or Buhari regime or the Nigerian army to site acts of terrorism perpetrated by the IMN if any in its over 40 years of existence.
I said I was shocked but certainly not surprised when these faceless groups emerged. The Army frowned at the Human Rights Watch HRW for calling on it to come clean on the Zaria massacre.
The army has discredited the Amnesty International, AI for speaking against its excesses. There too a faceless group was sponsored to boo the AI office in Abuja where the hoodlums even stoned at them for accusing the army of human rights flaws.
A faceless group called Gyallesu Youths was also used to justify the government’s state terrorism in Zaria. A faceless group was also used to protest in Kaduna against the IMN where the hoodlums ended up fighting at the Kaduna NUJ while sharing the proceeds after the protest. This is just to mention but a few out of the several state sponsored NGO castigating the IMN.
The Buhari government has committed crimes against humanity; it has committed genocide against a minority group simply because the president and some of his people don’t share the same faith with them; it has committed acts of state terrorism. These sponsored groups, paid to castigate and blackmail the IMN share in all these terror acts as the mouth pieces of terrorism.
What has the IMN done to be termed a terror group? Is it seeking redress in courts or the peaceful street protests that are rampantly attacked by armed policemen who have killed several IMN members on the streets or is it the belief of the IMN that we are either brothers in faith or brothers in humanity, therefore we are all brothers that they call terrorism? Who then is the terrorist?
This piece by Abdulmumin Giwa first appeared in the Pointer- Express