The President had in his speech to mark Democracy Day touched on virtually all the challenges his administration faced in its one year in office. He however refused to make mention of the monumental disaster that visited the nation on 12-12-15, when our national Army massacred 1000+ armless and defenseless citizens in Zaria, who are members of the Islamic Movement (IMN). An event that the world was officially told involved a secret mass open shallow grave dug by the Army in collaboration with Kaduna state government containing 347 bodies, in an attempt to hide their heinous crime. How the President could still remain silent in spite of the mass outcry by respected individuals and groups over this gross miscarriage of justice still beats imagination.
More so, in utter disregard to law and order the Nigerian government abducted the revered leader of the Movement his Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky after several shots were fired at him and his wife, killing three of his sons, setting ablaze some compounds in his house thereby burning some people alive including his sister.
Since his abduction, the leader of IMN has been kept illegally in detention without trial or any court charge along with hundreds of other IMN members. It remains shocking and unbelievable how the President could still remain silent about this miscarriage of justice in Nigeria while democracy is said to be commemorated after one year in office disregarding outcries by governments, groups and individuals calling for fairness and justice.
Soon after the wicked incident, IMN published a list of nearly 800 missing people. The gravity of this wanton destruction of lives and property witnessed in Zaria and the use of most inhumane treatment of citizens by an army paid to defend them made a respected clergyman to call for days of national mourning to be declared. The offences committed by the army in Zaria were grave, relating to crimes against humanity as revealed by subsequent confessional statements and disclosures by reports of international human rights groups. There is simply no more room for excuses. The President can no longer feign ignorance. We therefore reject the continued silence of the President on the Zaria massacre.
There is still so much left to be done. The identity of those buried in the mass shallow open grave need to be ascertained through various scientific methods so that their relatives can give them a proper burial. Those still in various military and DSS facilities across the country need to be released without further delay. The close to 1300 orphans and over a hundred newborns delivered to the detainees would have to be told about the fate of their parents. Even if the President chooses to keep silent over what happened in Zaria for now, these orphans and babies will surely demand for justice to be done in the near future.
We therefore call on the Buhari government to come out publicly and admit its failure to address its military’s crimes against humanity in Zaria and to outline measures to correct this anomaly, starting from the release of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky from the illegal detention it placed him.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA
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