This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Monday, December 14, 2015
PROBE THE ARMY FOR KILLING MUSLIMS IN ZARIA
14th December, 2015,
PROBE THE ARMY FOR KILLING MUSLIMS IN ZARIA
A detachment of the Nigerian Army on
Saturday, 12th December, 2015 opened fire on unarmed members of the
Islamic Movement of Nigeria who were holding a peaceful procession on the
streets of Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Islamic organization claimed that hundreds of
its members were mowed down in cold blood. Among those killed were Hajia Zeenat
and Aliy, wife and son of the organization’s leader respectively. Among top
members of the organization who were killed were Shaykh Mustapha Sa’eed, Shaykh
Ibrahim Usman, Shaykh Jummai Gilima and Shaykh Muhammad Turi, the leader of the
Kano Center of the group.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
strongly condemns this massacre of peace-loving and law-abiding citizens. We
denounce the well-known belligerent posture of the Nigerian military towards
unarmed civilians as manifested in this massacre. It is reckless, lawless and
barbaric. It is wanton exhibition of lack of respect for human life and an open
infringement on Allah-given fundamental human rights of defenceless Nigerians.
It is impunity of the highest order.
We reject the army’s claim of reacting to an
attempt by the group to assassinate the life of the Chief of General Staff. It
is laughable, ridiculous and unacceptable. It is an infantile after-thought, a
cock and bull story to which only the marines will listen.
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has no record of
violence during its annual processions. On the contrary, the Nigerian Army
seems to have marked the group for elimination as manifested in its unprovoked
attack on the group in July last year (2014) which claimed the lives of three
of Shaykh Al-Zakzaky’s sons as well as more than thirty other members of the
The army’s claim that the procession
blocked the access road appears more plausible but it could only have slowed
down the movement of traffic and does not warrant a massacre of this
In comparison, the disruption of traffic movement
caused by the Islamic organization in Zaria is a child’s play when considered
against the background of the notorious blockade and heavy traffic caused by
the Redeemed Church on Lagos-Ibadan expressway which causes untold suffering to
thousands of travelers.
Thousands of commuters and road users are known to
have slept on the road as a result of the traffic congestion caused by the
church on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Many programmes have failed because of the
holdup. Weddings have been truncated as either the bride or the groom (or both)
were held up in the traffic conundrum. Hundreds of motorists have been forced
to turn round and return to their destinations for the same reason.
Is the Nigerian Army telling us that none
of its vehicles have ever been caught in the traffic gridlock on Lagos-Ibadan
expressway? Did the soldiers get down and start shooting members of the
Redeeemed Church who caused the gridlock? Something is seriously wrong here. We
can see different strokes for different folks.
By the way, is it not an open secret that
Al-Zakyzaky’s members hold their procession once annually or at least during
their festivals? Is it also not well known that apart from some of its special
programmes, the Redeemed Church programmes come up at least once every month
(every first Friday of the month)?
This translates to the Muslim group disturbing
traffic once or twice in a year while the Christian group causes traffic
congestion more than twelve times in a year. How is the Nigerian Army able to
stomach the group that disturbs so frequently but it descends heavily and
murderously on the group whose frequency is less?
This killing is one too many. It must not
go uninvestigated and unpunished. The army must be accountable. Our democracy
is a fraud if soldiers will not submit themselves to civil authority.
Heads must roll in the military for this latest
extra-judicial killing otherwise nobody will be safe from military rascality in
future. We are not in the days of military rule. The Nigerian Army must be
subjected to the rule of law. It is high time Nigerians were told who is in
control: General Muhammadu Buhari or the military?
We remind Nigerians of the root of the
current Boko Haram insurgency. We must look back and remember where we came from because today was
born from the wombs of yesterday. Members of Boko Haram started peacefully
until their leader was killed extra-judicially and their headquarters was
destroyed by machine gun-wielding and armoured tank-brandishing troops.
The latest trigger-happiness in the Nigerian army
is capable of repeating history. We do not want a situation whereby members of
Al-Zakyzaky’s organization who have hitherto been peaceful will become radicalized
and militarized. The only way to ensure that this does not happen is to punish
those who gave the order for the massacre. We therefore submit a case of use of
excessive force on unarmed civilians against the Nigerian Army.
Without prejudice to the army’s
highhandedness in this matter, Al-Zakyzaky’s followers should organize their
rallies with civility. They should engage the services of traffic policemen and
arrange their members in a thin line of two in a row.
Our investigation revealed that the Emir of Zaria Alhaji
Shehu Idris once changed his route due to the heavy traffic caused by the organization’s
long procession. Even former Governor Mukhtar Yero was once affected. We appeal
to the leaders of Zazzau Emirate to dialogue with Shaykh Al-Zakzaky with a view
to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
MURIC invites the National Assembly (NASS) to
quickly wade into the matter. We appeal to the Defence Committee of the two
arms of the NASS to probe the killings and to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion.
We also demand adequate compensation for the families of those murdered by the
It is most disturbing that Al-Zakzaky’s members
claim that their leader’s whereabouts is unknown. There are rumours that the
army arrested him. We hereby demand that he should be produced safe and sound
latest by tomorrow, Tuesday, 15th December, 2015.
The law says no Nigerian should be detained beyond
48 hours after which he should be produced in court. We advise the Shaykh’s
followers to approach a competent court to seek the enforcement of the Shaykh’s
fundamental human rights should the army fail to produce him as requested.
Finally, we hereby request the Nigerian Human
Rights Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding this gruesome
massacre. We call on the international community to put pressure on the
Nigerian authorities and their military to check the latter’s aggressiveness,
lawlessness and criminal propensity. The human rights record of the Nigerian
military is at all time low.
At a time when the whole world is seeking
ways of de-radicalising extremists, the Nigerian military appears bent on militarizing
peace-loving and law-abiding Islamic organizations.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)