Tribute To the 5 Karofi Brothers Killed in the #ZariaMassacre

When five Karofi lights were extinguished: A tribute

By Hassan A. Karofi (Their Uncle)

As the guns sounded around the holy site in Zaria, blood flowed on the streets. Almost all day, the gun shots had been heavy, the skies gloomy, and lives wasted. During a terrible night, Khalid, Aliyu, Faisal, Mahmud and Abdulrahman were all victims of the darkest night of our history as a family.

Few months before their deaths, and like any of our family members, they joined in the optimism of freedom, although sometimes with doubt about the change that occurred after the April 2015 elections. Like millions of other Nigerians their optimism knew no bounds, their hope for a greater nation grew and grew.

I still see your faces. Filled with hope and enthusiasm and your conviction for a new nation where the country’s leadership “belongs to nobody” and “belongs to everybody” you marched to Hussainiyya for the commencement of the holy month of Rabiul Awwal. A day the Prophet’s flag will be mounted for the commencement of celebrating the birth of the greatest of mankind, Muhammadu Rasulullah.

Let me inform you, my dear nephews that a day before that fateful one, I was in Jigawa where the emir was marking his 20 years on the throne. Your killer, who has sworn to protect your nation and the lives of its citizens had a different mood on that day. Unknown to me, and to many innocents, Nigerian Muslims who lost their lives to state brutality on that day will be the last.


But my dear nephews, let me tell you a story because I am certain you can hear me. Your brutal murder by an institution and a government that swore with the Holy Qur’an to protect you, although painful and devastating, is a good tiding to you. Although we might have lost you forever, we find solace in Allah SWT’s saying: “And He it is who takes your soul at night (in sleep), and He knows what you acquire in the day, then He raises you up therein that an appointed term may be fulfilled; then to Him is your return, then He will inform you of what you were doing.” (Qur’an 6:60)

As a family, we have come to terms with the fact that every soul shall taste the bitterness of death. In your own case, we find solace that you were murdered while celebrating the greatest of human beings – Muhammadu Rasulullah SAW. You remained the embodiment of our love and respect even though you were teenagers. You remain our pride even though we would have loved to have you as our ambassadors.

We would have loved to die and leave you behind to carry on with the pride of our family – which is knowledge, dedication and being there for one another. But you were forcefully taken from us in a most devastating manner. Not only were you murdered by a government we supported and loved to a fault, you were buried without recourse to Islamic rites, in a mass grave, even though your parents are known.

To Khalid, I could remember your dexterity and savviness in technology. I and my wife would rush to you whenever our phones had problems. You mastered the art of science and the science of art that you emerged as one of the best graduating students in International Information Technology Business from the prestigious Ghanaian University in Accra few days before your brutal murder. They would have buried you along with your hopes, but their action will never go unpunished. If not in this world, Khalid, be sure that in the hereafter, they will account for your murder when there will be no government protection for them.

We still remember your brothers who were murdered along with you on that fateful day. Mahmud, Abdulrahman and Faisal, final year undergraduates in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Technology, Wudil as well as Aliyu, a brilliant young intellectual. The family was full of hope that our ‘wi-fi generation’ of talented, God-fearing intellectuals would graduate to join us as we work to build a stronger nation.

Your murder shattered us, making us lose appetite for any worldly thing. For days we could not eat. For weeks after your murder we stayed confused, unbelieving in what transpired. We waited for our President – who we have supported to order for immediate probe, to punish those murderers, but in vain.

In 2016? For alleged road blockage? Your government murdered you in cold blood with a nation looking on helplessly and your family shattered beyond explanation. What could have happened to your dreams of a Nigeria where social justice will prevail, where freedom will be guaranteed? Those dreams have gone and we have lost hope from that day in Nigeria. We live everyday hoping to see you or even your graves or your corpses so we could bury you with dignity but we are yet to be allowed even the least access.

But when we remember the promise of God to parents of martyrs, we all smile as family, knowing well that as martyrs you are all surely pleasuring in the honours of your lord. You did not die disobeying your creator, but you were murdered while celebrating the seal of prophets, Muhammadu Rasulillah. While we wait for justice until the end of our lives, we remain grateful to Allah SWT for giving us you as our children. We hope to meet you in your scintillating ornaments in the hereafter, regaling in majesty, closer and in intimacy to the one you were murdered celebrating. Rest assured your death, although painful, will continue to strengthen us in faith as we brace up more than before to lean on the path of Ahlul Bait, our love, our path.

Sent by Harun Elbinawi