A new released military propaganda video narrating the incidents of the Zaria massacre of December 12th to 13th 2015 strongly suggests that Nigeria is under military rule.
The video aired on NTA proved the raid was preplanned, as the military dropped their earlier “assassination on Buratai” claim and switched to an allegation of “pre-intel of hidden arms” as raison d’etre. See quotes here.
The three minute video which alleged that Zaria Muslim Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky was a preparing for militancy and a nuisance for the past 16 years, justified the military crack-down with the words, “the military is the foremost agency for internal security within the nation.”
The video highlighted people marching and learning karate. Whereas almost all schools offer these extra-curricula activities and there is nothing unconstitutional in these ‘evidences.’ The core problem is elucidated in the military failure to interpret and apply the constitution in internal affairs. The “crimes” of the Islamic movement can only be captured and addressed by knowledgeable police, not this army.
The video went on to suggest that it would have been a disgrace to Nigerians if the army had not killed the people blocking the road and went further to teach them lessons by massacring them at all other sites, but had stepped down.
A Corruption Of The Democracy
Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN has clearly stated as have many that the army under a democracy is only secondary to the police in maintaining internal security. The pride of a democracy is in no one, including the army being above the law and not in the army proving its might in violation of the constitution. Whereas under military regime, the army would kill anyone engaged in civil disobedience, under civilian rule it is the duty of the police and mobile police to bring the proper tools to disband the civil disorderly and arrest them. The army is secondary and not primary as the military claimed, to the police in maintaining internal security under civilian rule.
The police have the necessary expertise, training and tools including rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas and hand cuffs to breakup and arrest civilly disobedient; whereas the army is only trained in throwing bombs and firing AK47s and demolishing as they exhibited on Sokoto road, at Gyellesu and the attacked burial ground.
Taking the law into their own hands and using excessive force to massacre over 1000 civilians in Zaria is a flaunt of Nigeria’s democracy and a regression to the era of military rule.
The Military Just Does Not Get It Still
There is/was no declaration of a State of emergency by General Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria and Zaria was not under Marshall law. There is/was no place for the military in enforcing law and order.
Authority does not mean legitimacy. An armed robber wielding a gun may have authority but that does not mean he has legitimacy.
It must be noted that even if the military could not wait for the police and had to kill those blocking the streets, why did it continue its above-the-law mission by going to raid and massacre at so many other venues, rather than stepping back for the police to investigate and issue arrest warrants or raid?
It is not surprising that similar overhanded military authoritarian massacres were witnessed under a former ex-military ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo when he decimated Odi and Zaki Biam in response to civil disobedience.
Nigerians may need to learn that when they elect an ex-military man, his only training is in military methods and they are likely to witness a systematic or blunt return of military rule and aggression including beatings at petrol stations and being locked up in Guard rooms without charge by the military that will be empowered to act above the law.