On December 12th-14th, 2015 the Nigerian army used the fraudulent claims of “assasination attempt” on its army Chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai launched large scale attacks on the peaceful and unarmed members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) using the most sophisticated weapons in its arsenals massacring more than 1000+ defenseless Nigerians that included 100s of women and children. From the mode of the execution of the operation the attacks were pre-planned and coordinated as four (4) IMN locations were targeted by the Nigerian army and civilians slaughtered in an ISIS-like manner.

A sections of Nigerians especially those contaminated with the deviant Wahhabi cult of slaughter and beheading celebrated the inhuman massacre of the mostly Shia Muslims and declared the Nigerian army Chief Buratai and his commanders who mass-murdered civilians as “Lions” who are “brave” and “courageous”. Among the world leaders that reacted to the events of the Zaria massacre only King Salman of Saudi Arabia publicly called the Nigerian President Buhari to celebrate the massacre and called for more of such massacre under the guise of “fighting terrorism”.

After the brutal massacre that drew world-wide condemnation from political and human rights organizations and activists, the Kaduna state Governor Nasir Elrufai took the 191 IMN members who survived the pogrom to court and fabricated trump-up charges against them. The trump-up charges against members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) included “Culpable Homicide, Unlawful Assembly, Disturbance of Public Peace and Wrongful Restrain”.

In one of such three cases that came up for hearing yesterday (27/07/2016) at the Federal High Court 6 Kaduna with charge Number KDH/KAD/37C/2016 that is titled “STATE VS MOHAMMED AUWAL YAKUBU AND 80 ORS” under JUSTICE DAVID WYOMS, the prosecution Counsel that is representing the State applied for a motion that will see the Nigerian army officers who led the brutal slaughter of 1000+ civilians to testify in private for “fear of their lives”.

“Arguing his Motion, Dari Bayero, the Director of Public Prosecution, Kaduna State informed the Court that they filed a Motion on the 26th day of July 2016 seeking the order of Court permitting their witnesses No 1-9 to give their testimony in private (The witnesses are Colonel A.K Ibrahim, Commander I Division Internal Security; Colonel Sani K. Usman, Army Public Relations Officer; Colonel Mohammed Fago, Officer with the Records Office; Colonel Y. Ali; Lt. Colonel P. Kulawe Officer in charge of Operation Yaki; Nasiru Wowo, Soldier; Jiya Mahmud Liman, Soldier; Kanafa Suleiman, Soldier; and ASP Tanimu Jeremia a Ballistician). He supported the Application with 9 paragraphs affidavit. He informed the Court that the witnesses are principal officers in charge of their units and formations in the Nigerian Army. He stated that because of the role they played in the events leading to the charge, they received various threats to their lives and the threats were received online. He urged the court to protect the witnesses.”

“Responding Maxwell Kyon Esq holding the brief of Festus Okoye Esq informed the Court that the defense filed a 6 paragraphs counter affidavit in opposition to the Motion and relied on all the paragraphs of the affidavit. He stated that the issue before the court does not bother on the personal liberty of the witnesses as they erroneously stated in their Motion paper and that since the Motion was brought under section 35 of the Constitution, the implication is that the very foundation on which the application rests is faulty.
He called in aid section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that any person charged with the commission of a criminal offence ought to be given a fair hearing. He stated that ‘One of the fundamental ingredients of fair hearing is that such an individual must be tried in the open. The fundamental question to be asked in the circumstances of this case is: whether the facts as put forward by the applicants have placed before my lord’s sufficient material as a basis for the granting of the Application. We don’t know who the “Muslim Brothers” are as the prosecution stated that they are the ones threatening them. Our clients are members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. The persons threatening them have no business with the proceedings before the Court. Paragraph 6(B) of their affidavit is that they know the leadership of the Movement that is threatening them. The leadership of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is either in detention or were killed during the events of the 12th to 14th December 2015.
We have stated clearly that they killed the leadership of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the rest are in detention. They have not denied these facts. On the basis of that alone without more we urge my Lord to find that the application is lacking in merit and to throw it out. We further state that if the threats were online, the prosecution should have printed same and exhibited it. Since the applicants know those threatening them, they should have arrested them and brought them to justice. We further state that the prosecution never controverted the fact as deposed in the affidavit of the defense that nobody belonging to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria threatened them.”

The first sign of cowardice exhibited by the Nigerian army officers who executed the massacre was by the army Chief Buratai himself who told the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that they “only killed 7 Shiites and 10 injured”. Throughout human history the first mark of a true hero and the brave is that they NEVER attack and kill civilians especially during war situation. Another mark of a true hero and the brave is that they NEVER lie on the number of casualties they killed on the battlefield. In the Zaria massacre Buratai led other officers and men of the Nigerian army to murder more than 1000 civilians in less than 48 hours and after that the Kaduna state Governor Elrufai ” helped” them disposed of the bodies in mass grave.

The second exhibition of cowardice by officers of the Nigerian army who executed the Zaria massacre was what happened yesterday in the Kaduna Federal High Court 6. The officers who were so heartless that they murdered women and children by burning them alive are now scared for their lives that they are begging the Court to allow them testify in private. The accurate explanation of the cowardly posture of these indicted officers is they were never brave nor do they have any courage. They were bloodthirsty cowards who had tainted the past glorious reputation of the Nigerian army with the blood of innocent Nigerians.

These military officers should testify in public as the laws of the land demands for Nigerians to see and hear them on how they will justify the heinous crimes and atrocities committed by the Nigerian army during the massacre. Dangerous criminals like these should not be protected by law that is suppose of give succour to the oppressed and the abused. Those IMN members that the Nigerian army murdered were Nigerians who had families who loved them, friends who cherished their company, neighbors who honored them and colleagues who missed them. Possibly when these murderous thugs who are today wearing the uniform of the Nigerian army were killing civilians they forgot that they were killing human beings. They thought they were killing “Shia Infidels” who should be butchered to serve the evil imperialist agenda that has the savage Saudi Wahhabi regime as a front.

On a final note, the families of the victims of the Zaria massacre mourn their loved ones every moment. These families demand for nothing but justice and fairness in punishing those who brutally murdered their loved ones for no just cause and that was why these murderous thugs wearing the uniform of the Nigerian army did everything humanly possible to hide the evidences of what was undoubtedly a heinous war crime.

Harun Elbinawi


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