The allegations and half-truths contained in the above mentioned piece written by one self-appointed analyst, Mohammad Saddam Sidq Isa on July 30, 2021 and published by the Daily Trust newspaper, called for my attention to put things in their right place.
I will start by correcting him saying in the first place, the issue of Zaria massacre had nothing to do with Iran because, it was sponsored by Saudi Arabia as a way of curtailing what they described as Iranian influence in Africa.
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This is clearly stated by the DW Radio (Hausa Service) report in 2018 where the Crowned Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman explained how successful they have been in clamping down on Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
I wrote an open letter in December 2018 asking the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm or dismiss the claims by the Saudi Crowned Prince that they sponsored the Zaria massacre, but the government kept mute as usual. The letter was carried by both the local and international media still; the government avoided making any comment on it.
Although, the writer sentimentally described the Islamic Movement as being violent, an allegation dismissed and disproved by several courts of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria at both the federal and state levels. He has deliberately diverted from the understanding that he belongs to the Wahhabi/Salafi ideology that gave birth to terrorism across the world.
There is no single terror organization that is Shi’a but Sunni; not in Nigeria and not anywhere in the world. The Islamic Movement, otherwise called Shi’a, is facing indictments simply because it is attached to Iran the way the Wahhabis are attached to Saudi Arabia, or the way the Catholics are attached to Rome or the Anglicans to London.
Coming to the issue of recognition of non-violence the writer gave to some Shi’a organizations, as against the Islamic Movement, I say he is only being hypocritical and scouting for an afterthought. Neither those Shi’a groups, nor the Islamic Movement are violent in their activities.
In the aftermath of the Zaria massacre, it was the Amnesty International (AI) that exposed the illegal mass grave of innocent men, women, children and infants, in Mando, Kaduna State in the first place and not the Islamic Human Rights of London. This even angered the Nigerian government such that some poor and hungry Nigerians were paid N1000 each to join a protest and attack the AI office in Abuja. The AI report indicted the Nigerian regime for human rights violation.
The mass murder that took place while Gen. Tukur Buratai was the Nigerian Army Chief was a major concern for the AI and the HRW in Nigeria but here is the writer mentioning a registered international human rights organization in London and calling it Shi’a apologists for doing its job, why did he overlook the AI and HRW? Hypocrisy!
I will also want to enlighten the writer about his concept about Shi’ah Islam in general. Iran is not sponsoring the Islamic Movement in the manner he is expressing to his readers. The revered Sheikh Zakzaky is not sponsored by Iran or anybody. This is an Islamic Movement doing the Islamic bidding and has nothing to do with sponsorship.
His ignorance about how Shi’a is practiced might be the reason but not an excuse, at least not to a self acclaimed analyst. Not even the Shi’a clerics that go to study in seminaries are sponsored by Iran but by the seminaries which are not funded by Iran but by Shi’a faithfuls under the scholar that owns the seminary. It is unlike the government owned universities in Saudi Arabia where extremism is taught.
I should ask the writer how much he will agree to be paid to allow his followers to be massacred, including his biological children and for his property to be destroyed and be exposed to suppression by the Nigerian government? Definitely it doesn’t make sense to make such accusations.
More so, why would the Nigerian government maintain diplomatic relations with a country that is sponsoring violence against it? It does not make any sense unless if the Nigerian government is deceiving Nigerians.
The revered Sheikh went through court processes and was freed, first by the Federal High Court in Abuja, which reinstated his fundamental rights. The Federal High Court in December 2016 ordered that he be paid damages to the tune of N50 million along with his wife. It was also ordered that a house be built for him in any state of his choice within Northern Nigeria, a police protection be provided for him that will not stop him from his activities and the officer must not be below the rank of a DIG.
The Nigerian government acted in contempt of court and refused to obey. Instead, new charges were concocted against him where he was transferred from Abuja to Kaduna Correctional Centre (Prison). He was accused of eight charges including homicide by the Kaduna State Government but could not prove its case.
The Sheikh’s legal team applied for no case submission and it was granted because the government could not prove any of the eight concocted charges. He was thereby discharged and acquitted.
Still wanting to keep him behind bars, the Kaduna State Government concocted additional charges of terrorism against him. It could not even balance the charges to be accepted by a competent court because they wanted to arraign the Sheikh on charges of allegations of crimes committed years before the laws were made.
Hence, there is no such thing as a deal with anyone as the writer may want to mischievously induce into the public. The Sheikh has not been found guilty of any crime because the government could not prove any of the charges against him in all the years he was illegally incarcerated. Simple!
Giwa wrote in from Rigasa, Kaduna.