by Simon Ateba,
igerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, came under severe criticisms on Tuesday for delivering a beautiful speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that condemned atrocities being perpetrated by other governments but failed to address the killings happening in his own backyard.
“We are now confronted by the desperate human rights and humanitarian situations in Yemen and most tragically in the Rakhine State of Myanmar,” Mr. Buhari said.
“The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994,” he added.
He said the international community “cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what, from all indications is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the bases of ethnicity and religion”.
“We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity”.
It was a beautiful speech that made Mr. Buhari look good abroad, but at home, the President was assaulted on many sides before and after his speech.
Former Minister of Aviation and a member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party who is battling corruption charges, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, described Buhari’s speech as “pitiful, shameless and uninspiring”.
“You condemn the killing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar yet you slaughter Igbo Christians and Shiite Muslims in Nigeria and you turn a blind eye as your Salafist Fulani kinsmen and herdsmen butcher northern and southern Christians,” he said.
“You declare support for the establishment of a Palestinian state yet you reject the idea of Biafra. You condemn N. Korea’s dictatorship yet you have proved to be the most ruthless dictator that Nigeria has ever known.
“Your speech at the United Nations was pitiful, shameless and uninspiring. It was a cocktail of contradictions, deceit and mendacities”
Hours before Mr. Buhari was to deliver his speech, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria blasted him and his administration and condemned the international community for remaining silent in the face of massacre in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
“While the suffering and persecution of Burma’s Muslim Rohingya have captured headlines and the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, Nigeria’s far worse oppression of Shia Muslim minorities has been largely ignored,” the movement said in a statement.
“Credible human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Humana rights watch and Islamic Human rights commission have on several occasions since the infamous Zaria massacre by the Nigerian army in December, 2015 condemned the barbarity displayed by the army on unarmed civilians with indisputable proofs, but to the chagrin of people of conscience the UN body has kept mute on the issue.
“The most recent attempt by the human rights bodies to draw the attention of the world on the plight of the Shia minorities in Nigeria is the symposium conducted by the Amnesty International in Abuja during the commemoration of the International day of the disappeared persons.
“During the event family members of some victims of the forceful disappearance of members of IMN, widely known as Shiites during the Zaria genocide were present, likewise photographic and video proofs of the massacre were displayed to the public, but to the consternation of all, the international body is yet to take any concrete move on this brazen human rights abuse by Buhari administration,” IMN said..
It said “It shouldn’t be forgotten that hundreds of innocent civilians have died and more have been injured or terrorized by Nigeria’s military acting under Buhari’s direction within two days only, precisely 12-14 December, 2015”.
“We believe this genocide of Shia Muslim minority is not a “domestic” matter within the exclusive jurisdiction of Nigeria. Genocide is a crime against all of mankind which concerns every country. Hence we urged member states of the United Nations organization to hold Nigeria accountable for its crimes and not let the country get away with genocide”.
In December 2015, the Nigerian Army under the directives of the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, killed hundreds of Shia Muslims. The Army accused the Shiites of blocking the road and preventing troops from passing and for trying to assassinate Buratai.
But the Shiites countered that argument saying they were being targeted because of their Islamic sect. President Buhari, General Buratai and Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the man in charge of the state where the killings happened, are all Sunni Islams.
The Shia accused Saudi Arabia of fighting a proxy war with Iran in Nigeria. Most Shia are backed by Iran while Sunni are mainly backed by Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Buhari’s failure to ignore the killings of Shia and Igbo protesters who were demanding the formation of an independent state of Biafra earned him scorns at home, although he sounded great in New York.