The House of Representatives was in a rowdy session today as Honorable members debated the wordings of the order to release Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
During the debates at the plenary, members took a minute silence to commiserate with the families of Precious Owolabi, an NYSC member with Channels TV & the Deputy Commissioner of police, Usman Umar of the FCT command, who died during the violent clampdown on members of the Islamic Movement. There was no word of condolences to families of the Movement killed by the Police.
During the plenary, the House Majority leader Hon. Doguwa noted that the Speaker had earlier mandated him to meet with the leaders of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, but according to him, they “reneged their agreement for peace & went ahead with the protest at the National Assembly.”
The Majority leader also noted that they are setting a dangerous precedent in the name of democracy, liberty, freedom of association & movement to cause civil unrest.
He called on the Executive arm to be concerned about the plight of the people and employ dialogue as a means of ensuring peace.
However Hon. Hembe moved a motion for the House to urge the Executive arm of Government to release Sheikh Zakzaky immediately.
The Speaker put it to question, and the motion was declared defeated in a voice vote by the Speaker, although there appeared to have been some manipulations.
Hon. Linda Ikpeazu also moved a motion for the House to urge the Kaduna State Government to release the IMN leader, the motion was seconded, put to the vote, and it was again declared also defeated in a suspicious voice vote.
The House resolved to set up an Adhoc committee that will interface with the Executive in finding a lasting peaceful solution to crises to be headed by the House Majority leader.
Again, the honourable House, especially the Speaker and the House Majority leader are being anything other than honourable.
Perhaps, the House needed to be reminded that when the Zaria massacre took place and the leadership of the 8th Assembly then requested to see the leadership of the IMN, they were there and the majority leader, Hon Ado Doguwa, was one of the those in the panel then.
The Shiites told the House Committee that they honoured the invitation “out of respect” for the House and Senators. However, after that initial meeting, both the House and the Senate went to sleep and did nothing to redress the situation. Letters after letters, petition after petition later by the Shiites were not attended to.
So when he came to once again address the protesters at the gate of the National assembly some weeks ago, the Shiites listened to him. He pledged again to do something “within a week” and revert to them. But again nothing was done and he never reverted as pledged. Until this recent happenings.
So for him to turn around now and accuse them of setting a dangerous precedent causing civil unrest is the peak of injustice.
The Islamic Movement went to courts to seek redress and the courts gave them favourable judgement but the executive arm of the government reneged and contemptuously continued with the persecution.
When the Shiites also persistently turned to the National Assembly, not even for once was the matter brought to the floor for discussion. Not even when the Kaduna state government confessed to the extra judicial killing of 347 citizens and burying them in mass graves, did any arm of government raise its voice against this internationally accepted crime against humanity!
There was never any words of condolences to families of those being killed by any government agency as if their lives don’t matter. Why would the majority leader now turn to accuse them for “civil unrest”? Why would anybody accuse them of coming out to protest?
The Islamic Movement didn’t take up arms against the state. They come out, armed with placards, banners and posters, chanting slogans to protest.
It will be recalled that earlier last year, they were mostly restricted within the confines of Unity Fountains in what they called daily sit out. The government sent security agents to forcibly disperse them.
And we say they are setting dangerous precedent? What else do we want them to do?
It remains to be seen how a House that cannot face the Executive arm with the truth straight to its face could be a just arbiters.