There were news items in many mainstream media outlets today that seek to cover a press statement issued by Amnesty International as part of activities marking the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
While the Amnesty statement was loud and clear, the reports in the press however seeks to adulterate the Amnesty demand. Undoubtedly, it is the Military implants in media places doing this.
They included some purulent words and ideas which were not part of what Amnesty put out in an attempt to rubbish and dilute what is being intended. All the talk about “firebrand cleric” and “IMN has been in conflict with the Nigerian government for years” were deliberate and wicked insertions by paid agents in the mainstream media to try explaining the cases of enforced disappearances being highlighted.
For the avoidance of doubts, neither Sheikh Zakzaky nor the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has been in conflict with anyone. Sheikh Zakzaky leads a grassroot mass Movement that cuts across traditional fault lines in Nigeria’s geo-tribal and faith polity. If it were all about “firebrand” or “conflict” and violence, he wouldn’t have garnered the massive support he enjoys despite the use of the full might of the state against him. It is this which is actually what makes the authorities uncomfortable with the Movement.
What the government and its military should be focused on at this material point in time is to explain what they did to the hundreds of victims of enforced disappearances Amnesty highlighted. We have produced all necessary evidence including names, photographs, ages, contact of relations and where/when each was last seen according to international standards.
The military must account for these victims. How many did it kill and secretly buried in mass graves? How many are they still detaining in secret detention facilities across the country?
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria reiterates its demand for the immediate release of all of its members being detained, including those in military and other detention facilities across the country. We also demand the handing over of all corpses of those the military killed, including those they hurriedly buried in attempt to hide their heinous crime, so that their identities are known, their relatives identified and the bodies handed over for proper burial rites according to Islamic injunctions.
Finally, we join Amnesty International in solemnly marking this day and in calling on the Nigerian authorities to come out clear on all cases of enforced disappearances and bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN