Speech presented by Professor Isa Hassan-Enua Mshelgaru – Coordinator (Zaria zone), Resource Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, at the conference hall of Ist 40 Hotel, no. 38 Aminu Kano Crescent. Wuse 2, Abuja; on 3 July 2018.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
I welcome you to this press conference organized by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
I am Professor Isa Hassan-Enua Mshelgaru
With me here: member of the Islamic Movement. Prominent among them are: Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello from Zaria, Sheikh Sunusi Abdulkadir - the representative of Kano; Dr Yushau Bn Sheikh - coordinator (Abuja zone), Resource Forum, Engineer Abddullahi Musa Muhammad- academic Forum, Sheikh Aliyu Tirmizi - the representative of Kaduna, Sheikh Sani Zuru - the representative of Kebbi, Sheikh Sidi Mannir - the representative of Sokoto.
We are especially grateful to the media Practitioners who will share our views with the members of the public. We will take questions after the presentation and possibly allow for follow-up questions as well.
Once again welcome.
The purpose of this press conference today; is to publically condemn the incessant killings across the country, express our sympathy with the families of victims and to call for justice for all irrespective of religious affiliations, ethnic, political and ideological beliefs.
The attention of the Islamic movement in Nigeria has been drawn to the incessant killings in the country especially by the most recent occurrences in Plateau, Nasarawa and Zamfara States that consumed hundreds of precious lives of our citizens. The Movement is mainly concerned with the loss of life and properties, the miserable conditions of families of victims and the future of the country.
What we are currently facing is not only bloodletting but the changing dimensions and complexities in security challenges. It goes progressively in both intensity and extent, with the number of attacks and casualties on the increase. Reports including that of the UN have indicated that the number of death and injuries on year–on-year basis from 2017 (894 killed) to 2018 (1813 killed) was doubled and the trend is similar even on monthly basis.
The lives of innocent men, women and promising children are being unlawfully taken away on nearly daily basis in horrifying manners for no just cause. Imagine, if the objective of the dreaded Boko haram is believed to create an Islamic state, then what can one say are the objectives of the Bandits ransacking and wantonly destroying villages, murdering and dispersing the occupants in Zamfara State, Birnin Gwari and villages of southern Kaduna in Kaduna State? For who are the bandits occupying these vast vacated lands, since they are not herdsmen? Is it also true that the Fulani herdsmen who are traditionally nomadic and have never settled in history are the ones busy killing communities to take over lands for a purpose of settlement they do not need? In absence of convincing answers to these, do we also then subscribe to the conspiracy theory that hypnotizes possible invasion of the country by the world powers who eye our resources?
I think in this issue of security crisis rapping the country, there are more questions than answers. Hence, we should endure to join efforts to demand for the real motives behind this intermittent, systematic and prolonged massacre of Nigerians from the authority- the Federal government. To live under this unfortunate insecurity situation, life and property of citizens are not longer guaranteed as organized large scale crimes can go undetected.
The movement therefore, strongly condemns in totality all forms of killings done under any guise and commiserates with families of the victims. I personally see the killings as unnecessary, avoidable and meaningless for the purpose of our coexistence in the multi-ethnic, multi-culture and multi-religious society like ours. I pray for the departed souls, condemn the murderers and their actions. We are not imagining the circumstances of these families nor are we pretending. These circumstances are similar to the situations the members of the movement have been in for consecutive years. Our feelings are real and the agonies of loosing beloved ones in times of needs are inconceivable. While we are alarmed, our hearts remain with the injured who experience what we have been going through and also with those who lost one thing or the other as result of the insecurity and not due to illnesses or accidents.
Coincidentally, the Islamic Movement in Nigerian happens to be the most strike community and a major victim of the country’s insecurity.
In its decades of years, the Islamic Movement has recorded thousands of martyrs and other thousands injured, imprisoned, maimed, widowed, orphaned and many more. All of these were directly or indirectly scored by the Nigerian security apparatus namely; the Nigerian Army, and the Nigeria Police in different clamp down operations, which include the barbaric Zaria 2015 massacre and Kano mass killings.
A brief recount of the Zaria incidences has it that: some large troops of the Nigerian Army armed to the teeth with heavy conventional weapons pounded Sheikh Zakzaky’s resident for close to 30 hour during an occasion that brought in many attendees until the large gathering of faithful perished and reduced to ashes. This inhumane state targeted massacre culminated to lose of over 1000 of lives, creation of the largest human mass grave in the country, rape, all sorts of injuries, humiliation, lost of valuable properties and imprisonments of hundreds. Among the survivors who were castrated up to date with severe injuries despite High Court order to release them are the revered leader of the Islamic Movement and his wife Malama Zeenat.
The glimpses of the Kano account is neither pleasant. Two of the three brutal mass killings were executed by the joint actions of the Army and the Police killing and injuring a large number in cool blood. The third came in as a suicide bomber, exploded his explosives in the midst of participants killing 23 harming several others. The resultants of the later massacres were not different from the former. This recount is just a highlight; the details of each event were made public in the past. These cited bloodlettings are typical examples of the ruthless massacres currently going on and being experienced by many communities in the country. The victims are crying at the top of their voices for assistance but in vain, not even to talk of getting justice.
With the Islamic Movement, despite the open hostilities meted, it is determined to seek for justice through peaceful and legitimate means without any form of reprisal. This stance, as far as we are concerned, yields good results. As such we advice the families of violence victims, even though it is bitter and not too easy to bear, to avoid retaliations and seek redress and justice in peaceful and le gal ways and at the same time form alliances for there is strength in unity.
As we the victims of insecurity mourn and demand for justice for our beloved ones, valuable properties and restoration of respect and dignity, we see the hands of the Nigerian security smudged with these bloods and hidden evil intensions and this is clearly written on the walls.
We all know that the responsibility of the protection of citizens’ lives, properties, honour and dignity lie with the authority – the government. The sincerities and competences of those in power can be measured by how they approach and response in times of security crises such as the Plateau killing, Benue, Zamfara and Zaria massacres. The government was found not only incapable in either case but complicit and directly involved, principally in the incidences of Zaria and Kano bloodsheds. The massacres were carried out by the Federal Government in conjunction with the Kaduna and Kano state governments, and rewarded by them. We the families of the victims see the killers of our parents, mother, children, husband friends and other relations day in day out in the streets, schools, markets, social gatherings and offices but always have to suppress our revenge tempting tempers. It is on record that some of these criminals perpetrators who were indicted by the Kaduna state Judiciary Commission of Inquiry were not only eulogized but accorded accelerated promotions in appreciations of the job well done they did. Such impunity tendencies of freeing criminal from the consequences of their heinous actions the governments have degenerated the security crisis in the country; resulting to emboldening and empowering minor criminals to become hardened ones, just to afford them lunch more severe and sophisticated attacks in the future.
In conclusion, the movement is worried with the state of insecurity of the country and therefore demand for: immediate stop to the killings, thoroughly investigate all cases of killings including those in the North East and Aba Abia State, prosecute all perpetrators, collaborators and sponsors, whether they local or foreign and compensate all loses accordingly.