Is it possible for a man to testify against himself and then convict himself? This difficulty-rarity is the reason why “independence” is always demanded in the setting-up of panels whose results may be deemed useful and reassuring.
The Muslim Quran sternly summons mankind to be firm witnesses and true in justice even against themselves and theirs. Verse 135 of Chapter 4 states the translated:
“O you who have believed, stand out firmly for justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether (the case be of) the rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.”
But very few Muslims really care, it appears. Indeed so grievous is the crime of false testimony and subversion of justice that it is included in the 10 Biblical commandments.
Nigeria’s Two Cases
Two panel results are currently in the nation’s headlines: the Arms Panel report and the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry report. Both cases relate to massive deaths of Nigerians and are particularly instrumental in building trust and confidence in Nigeria’s current administration and preventing societal breakdown, chaos and terror which have a history of being promoted by inequality, corruption and a lack of justice.
Already the Buhari “change” government has been largely deemed in the public’s eye to have failed as far as the Arms Panel report goes. Two names in particular found to be missing or edited out of the report, sacked public trust and validated the “wailers'” accusations of witch-hunts. The names of the 2008-2010 Chief of Army staff, Dambazzau and the Dasuki era DHQ Procurement chief, Buratai were auspiciously missing and edited from the report. PremiumTimes hastily debunked a FGN curve-attempt claiming the report did not cover Dambazzau’s tenure. It did.
The second report has been received by the Kaduna State Government, KDSG and is expected to be made public “after editing,” any moment from now. It is the report on the Zaria massacre incident of mid-December last year. Anywhere between 377 confirmed (includes 347 admitted by KDSG to be in the Mando mass grave and at least 30 initial and later hospital and prison released bodies) and 1000 Nigerians, mostly Muslims were killed in that incident.
But popular news site SaharaReporters informed that the JCI report will only be released after it is edited by Governor el-Rufai.
Once again, as happened with the Arms Panel report where names of government officials found to be in the report were edited out, what will be edited out of the already un-independent JCI report?
The KDSG admitted already to wrong doing. It confessed secretly mass-burying 347 bodies in a grave in Mando (yet to be exhumed and investigated) last December and to concealing this information for three months thereafter. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Balarabe Lawal confessed to this crime on April 11th. Will the report indict the very state government that chartered the select panel members? Will the report recommend the termination (resignation) of the heads of the Kaduna state government for such crimes against humanity and their subsequent prosecution? And if the report does, will these recommendations be left insitu or will they be edited out?
Again, for those observant of the Kaduna fallout, the singular candidate implicated in both panels in review, current Chief of Army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai’s propagandists have directly implicated and accused the KDSG in being behind the incitement of the Zaria massacre. The Buratai-linked media arms have gone as far as hinting the KDSG as having worked with and for Boko Haram in inducing the massacre, setting up the Kaduna Shia Muslims and “framing” the person of Buratai. Yushau Shuaib of PRNigeria, known for presenting a recent unaccredited rather outlandish defense that Buratai’s $1.5 million Dubai property acquisition was legitimate for being “investment property and not family home” and had undergone an expedited, secretive, miraculous and unprecedented FG Aso-rock panel investigation and clearance, has been at the center of propagating this indictment of the KDSG.
With these two top government arms, the KDSG and head of the Nigerian army, being so embroiled and even culpably counterposed in the instance of the inquired Kaduna massacre, what will el-Rufai’s selected panel members submit and what will the edited version contain or not contain, and how will this next report impact Nigeria’s growing confidence or loss of it in the new “change” administration? The coming days will tell.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian