Zaria Massacre: GOC Turned into Sacrificial Lamb
By Abdulmumin Giwa
I am not in the least surprised by the report of
the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI
established by the Kaduna state Governor Nasir
El-Rufai to investigate what the Governor and
others mischievously described as “Army-Shi’ite
clash” in Zaria even as the unarmed members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN were
brutally massacre by the Nigeria Army.
I remember asking the question in one of my
write-ups ‘who clashed with who?’ This is
because there was no such thing as a clash but
a merciless misuse of power by the Nigerian
Army that went on a killing spree butchering
young men, women and children in the most
inhuman and extra-judicial manner imaginable.
The soldiers were there to kill everyone present
including the leader of the Movement Sheikh
Ibraheem Zakzaky who miraculously survived
their hypocrisy such that they were even
chanting anti-Shi’ite slogans proving that it was
simply genocide and not a clash. For that
purpose they spent all the hours between 12th
to 14th of December 2015 killing and clearing
the scenes at IMN’s Hussainiyya at Sokoto Road inn Zaria, Residence of the IMN leader at
Gyallesu in Zaria as well as the Cemetery and
Film Village of the IMN along Jos road in Zaria.
Alas, thanks to the focused and persistent but
non-violent campaign by the IMN against the
massacre that has been internationalized to the
extent that the hypocrisy of the Nigerian
government to wipe out the “Shi’ites” in order to
please Saudi Arabia and Israel was exposed.
The leaked JCI report of the JCI has already
indicted the Army as did other reputable
international human rights bodies across the
globe and is calling for the prosecution of the
General Officer Commanding the 1 Division of
the Army in Kaduna Major General Adeniyi
It is worth asking that if the JCI could reach
such a decision without cross-examining the IMN members and its leader and without receiving any memo from them, what would have been the outcome if the IMN was at the commission? Definitely the answer is not far-fetched, moreArmy brutalities would have been exposed, more acts of inhumanity, more human rights violations and crimes against humanity would have also been exposed.
The report would have gone beyond to even
expose the roles of some sacred cows like the
President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai and Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai in the December
2015 Zaria massacre. What the report has done now is simply reduced the pressure on the civilian killer regime by indicting the GOC and using him as the sacrificial goat in order to save the necks of the true perpetrators and master-minds of the
Definitely no right thinking person would believe
that the GOC acted on his own volition because
he has a COAS and C-in-C above him. It is not
just a simple cordon and search operation but a
well pre-planned and executed operation with
foreign interest in it. Whosoever might have been the GOC at that time would have acted in the same manner because of the special interests from above and would have suffered the same fate.
The pressure on the Nigerian civilian killer regime made it to have no choice than to intimidate the IMN and ensure that it does not come before the JCI. By this, through impunity the government abducted and illegally detained the leader of the Movement Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife and also arrested and imprisoned over 200 members of the Movement to stop them from testifying before the JCI lest they decide to.
If they were truly investigating the said clash
why didn’t the JCI cross-examine the direct
victims of the massacre that are up till this time
in the custody of the government? Why didn’t
they present the revered Sheikh before the
Commission? Why didn’t they bring those in
detention to testify before the JCI? Why were
they only interested in third-party submissions
from the side of the IMN and not the direct
victims? They were probably not interested in
more revelations, simple.
Right from day one, the Kaduna state Governor
didn’t want the IMN to attend the JCI in order to
over-look a lot of other crimes they have jointly
committed along with the Army. He started by
indicting the Movement in his speech and
labeling unsubstantiated and false accusations
against it and even declaring that the leader of
the Movement would be prosecuted. He did all
these as he was swearing-in the JCI
commissioners to show how the side to which
Secondly, he swore-in arch-enemies of the
Movement including those that have not only
called for the mass killing of IMN members but
have even written books calling for their
massacre as commissioners in the JCI. He went further to bring before the JCI sponsored elements to testify and blackmail the IMN in such a way that all those that went before the commission, except for a few that spoke in favor of the IMN, were all monotonous
and in support of the malicious indictments
labeled against the IMN by the Governor.
The interest of the IMN was totally shelved aside in setting up the JCI in such a way that it was not represented in the commission and no
independent human rights body was also
involved in order to tame any possibility of
exposing the real perpetrators of the crime.
Unexpectedly to the government, the case of the IMN was taken before the International Criminal Court ICC, by the Islamic Human Rights Commission of London. The Amnesty
International also indicted the Army and the
Kaduna state government by exposing satellite
photos of one of the sites where the murdered
IMN members were mass buried to hide the
heinous crime. This is also not forgetting the
report of the Human Rights Watch that was the
first to expose the government’s inhumanity.
This forced the Kaduna state government to
confess burying 347 IMN members in a mass
grave even as the Nigerian Army is denying
killing anybody except the seven confessed by
the COAS. There was no way to hide it again and so they were forced to shop for reasons for the burial that was in total violation of the Geneva Convention.
The JCI also testified that the Army refused to
say how many they have killed and so the
number of those killed is now officially acceptedas 347 and one fabricated soldier whose death was not independently determined.
Even the fabricated killed soldier was initially not mentioned at all by the COAS or the Army during its first press conference after the massacre until they sensed the danger involved in their going about saying that they clashed with the Shi’ites and yet they suffered no single casualty even as they killed over 1000 of them. So, they immediately fabricated the killing of one soldier without any independent postmortem or examination.
This fabrication of the killing of a soldier was
also in favor of the Kaduna state government
which it capitalized on to continue imprisoning
IMN members and using it as part of the
fabricated charges against them in court to clear itself of accusations from the public.
The IMN on its part has declared names and
profiles of not less than 950 of its members
missing since the pogrom out of the over 1000
that might have been killed by the zombies so
far and is still compiling.
The JCI report has been technically produced to reduce tension and pressure on the government and its act of state terrorism and the best way to sweep everything under the carpet is to sacrifice the GOC and absolve the COAS and the C-in-C. It is now clear to the world that the Nigerian regime used its Army to massacre innocent unarmed civilians because they practice a minority faith different from that of those in authority using tyranny and impunity. This must not all end on the GOC alone the real master-minds must be exposed and punished as well.
Those members of IMN whose rights and
humanity have been violated must be
compensated accordingly as they are entitled to. Those mass buried must be exhumed and given befitting burials as their relations deserve the right to know if they are dead and buried and not to live with the assumption or supposition thatthey were massacred by Nigerian Army in Zaria in 2015.
The Kaduna state government must also face
the consequences of burying people without
certifying whether they are dead or alive as
many might have been buried in mass graves
alive simply because they were rendered
helpless with bullet wounds and the government is busy trying to hide its act of state terrorism.
All these crimes and many more must be
exposed and all perpetrators punished as well.
In as much as they have decided to sacrifice the GOC to absolve their selves, even though he
declared responsibility for the killings before the JCI during his cross examination, real fairness and justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done.
We await to see the magic that will come with
the official making of the report public and the
subsequent implementation of the
recommendations made by the JCI for indeed
Nigerian governments of various times have yet
to reach the level of civilization of implementing reports. This fact is known to every Nigerian.
As a result the IMN will continue in its quest for
justice through peaceful means in the courts of
law within Nigeria and in The Hague until justice
and fairness would be seen to have been done
as no one could be deceived by turning the GOC into a sacrificial goat.