The United States wants the Nigerian government to expedite action on the recommendation of the white paper on last year’s clashes in Zaria, Kaduna state.
John Kirby, assistant secretary and department spokesperson of the Bureau of Public Affairs, said the US government had fully agreed with the recommendations in the White Paper.
“On December 5th, the Kaduna state government in Nigeria issued a long-awaited white paper on clashes last year that resulted in the deaths of a reported 348 civillians and one soldier,” Kirby said on Friday.
“We fully agree with the white paper’s recommendation that members of the military who were involved in the unlawful killing of civilians must be held accountable and punished appropriately.”
“As the one-year anniversary of this tragic event approaches, we call on the federal government to be diligent, transparent, and expeditious in following through on this recommendation.”
Kirby said that his government was also concerned with the paper’s characterisation of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) as an “insurgent group”.
He said that the US government would also want to encourage the federal government to act on the judgement of an Abuja high court mandating the release from prison of IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife, within 45 days.
He said that his government had therefore enjoined the different levels of government to evolve ways of non-violent engagement with all citizens, including minority religious groups.
“We also encourage the federal government to act on the Abuja high court’s decision on December 2 that IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife should be released from prison within 45 days, as they have been held without charge since the events of last December,” Kirby added.
“As the white paper notes, the right to freedom of worship is a cherished constitutional right in Nigeria that must be protected. We encourage the people and the government of Nigeria to support these fundamental principles, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or region.”
Kaduna State Government yesterday declared the embattled Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) an insurgent group.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects this new label for an otherwise pacific organization. The new declaration is nothing short of calling a dog a bad name in other to hang it. Kaduna State government is being economical with the truth, killing a fly with a sledge hammer and engaging in executive tyranny.
This is a very dangerous dimension. Coming shortly after a competent court of law ordered the release of the IMN leader, Shaykh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky from detention, this stigmatization is just another attempt by the state government to jump the gun. The declaration is short in equity, long in injustice. But we must remember Martin Luther’s warning that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Kaduna government is pregnant with ingredients of all the five evils which Chamberlain spoke about, viz, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. Why is it that the only thing men learn from history is that they learn nothing from history? Kaduna has not learnt anything from the Boko Haram phenomenon. Kaduna has chosen to prove both Hegel and Karl Marx right in their postulate that history always repeats itself.
MURIC is however constrained to remind all stakeholders of the divine warning contained in Qur’an 8:25 “Fear a tumult which will affect those who caused it as well as the innocent ones”. Was this not how Boko Haram started? Police brutality and extra-judicial killing of the group’s leader caused its metamorphosis into a terror machine. But is it the police alone that are facing the consequences today?
MURIC calls on well-meaning Nigerians to speak out.
It was the great Shaykh Uthman Bin Fudi (Uthman Dan Fodio) who said, “In an unjust society, silence is a crime…” Let us speak up now before it is too late.
But members of the IMN also need to do some self assessment. Something must be wrong with a system against which so many neighbours testify.Several people (including Muslims) confirm that they had had bitter encounters with members of the IMN. They complain about the group’s open display of arrogance. All those people could not have been lying.
Something must be wrong with a doctrine which embarrasses the rest of the Muslim Ummah and from which they dissociate themselves.
We commend the leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for its efforts in resolving the IMN debacle and the maturity it has manifested in handling the matter. Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, NSCIA has engaged in quiet diplomatic shuttling between governments and the IMN from the beginning. We urge the NSCIA to continue the dialogue.
In conclusion, we appeal to the Kaduna State government to de-label IMN and begin a process of reconciliation and reorientation for its members. That is the path of visionary leadership and responsible governance. It is the path of peace. On its own part,
IMN must improve its relationship with other Islamic organizations.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Since the Saudi Arabia-backed war against Shiites in Nigeria began, more and more children are being unjustly treated, beaten, tortured and incarcerated for belonging to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria – the main Shia Muslim group backed by Iran, the groups spokesman has alleged.
In a terse statement released Monday afternoon, the group stated that authorities arbitrarily arrested minors and charged them to court, though minors arrested in Kano and Kaduna have since been let loose on bail, however, Plateau and Kastina are still holding tens of minors.
Recall since the election of a Sunni President in Nigeria, President Muhammudu Buhari and several other Sunni governors in the northern states, a massive clampdown of the Shia muslim group has intensified. It reached a crescendo in December, 2015 when the army backed by Sunni governor Nasir El-Rufai in Kaduna state massacred at least 340 shiites and buried them in mass graves in the outskirts of Kaduna, according to a judicial commission of inquiry set up by the state governor.
During the attack, leader of the group, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was shot on his right eye and arm, he has since been incarcerated in a secret government detention facility with his wife. Three of his remaining sons however did not survive the massacre as they were brutally slaughtered.
Read the group’s full press statement below:
Since the attack on members of the Islamic Movement by security agents in connivance with some miscreants across some states on Wednesday 12/1/16, authorities arbitrarily arrested people and charged them to courts on trumped up charges and remanded in prison custody. Shamelessly and quite surprisingly, the courts where those arrested were taken to, have also remanded scores of minors in jail including the 4 year old Salamatu Yunusa, being held in Jos.
This absurdity however contrasts with what happened in Kaduna and Kano states where tens of those arrested were released on bail being minors.
It is surprising therefore why the case in Katsina and Plateau states should be different, when evidence strongly suggests that the attacks in all the states were orchestrated by a central command.
We hereby call on the authorities in these two states to release these minors who have by now unjustifiably spent about a week in jails. This is an embarrassment to the nation.
In the same vein, those who were brutalised and injured among those in detention are yet to get proper medical attention. They are prisoners of conscience. This is unfortunate and a gross miscarriage of justice. All humanitarian laws recognize that prisoners should not be denied medical treatment. This cannot be an exception.
We also condemn in very strong words the inhuman brutality meted to IMN members by the Army in Jos for no other reason than their faith. We therefore call for their release without further delays.
IMN recognizes that the recent attack on its members by security agents in collaboration with some unemployed youths across the various states was instigated by Kaduna state Governor Elrufai. We are aware that he has even planned for Katsina state a vicious plot and model of how to attack IMN members in Katsina metropolis. This diabolical plot involves attack whenever IMN members leave their Islamic centre for any educational program, and the opportunity to burn and raze our centre will be created and executed.
We believe Elrufai is inciting hate with a view to minority cleansing in his self styled war against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. He already has a case of crime against humanity, which he is frantically trying to cover. Nevertheless this will not deter us in our pursuit of justice for the victims of the Zaria massacre.
We therefore reiterate our call for the unconditional release of our Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his wife and all others under detention for almost a year now. Their continued detention is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN
Osun Defender has obtained a video of youths hailing, as members of the Nigerian security forces beat, kill and drag bodies of dead Shia Muslims across the street.
Recall the Kaduna state government in flagrant abuse of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria recently banned activities of a Shia group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria, thereby making all its religious activities ‘illegal’.
Sunni and Shia Muslims across the world cheered on by Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively, are locked in a supremacy battle to root out each other. The Sunnis in Nigeria recently claimed the upper hand with the election of one of their own as governor in Kaduna, North Western state in Nigeria.
The governor, Nasir Elrufai, watched as Soldiers loyal to the government, slaughtered at least 314 Shia Muslims in December 2015. State government officials supervised the burying of the victims in mass graves in the outskirt of Kaduna.
Leader of the Shia Group in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who was shot in the eyes during the massacre is still in secret government detention facility without access to his lawyers, neither has he being charged to court for the past 10 months since the incidence took place.
Watch the video of the brutal repression of the Shia Muslims below:
Kaduna state government yesterday 13/10/16 was reported to have issued a warning to residents in Kaduna and other towns not to take laws into their hands on any individual or group, in reference to the attacks, arson and destruction of properties of Shia Muslims who are members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria that occurred days earlier. Clearly, this is nothing but an afterthought. What happened in the wake of our peaceful Ashura mourning procession was a carefully planned plot, meticulously executed with all machinery of government.
The government had all along tried to give their brutal clampdown on Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) members a semblance of an altercation between IMN and the masses. Kaduna state governor, Nasiru ElRufai alluded to this right from the outset of the attacks in December, 2015 in his infamous state-wide broadcast. His utterances and body language since then left no one in doubt his disdain for IMN members. Using all the tools of governance at his disposal, in private and openly, often in total disregard to reason, sanity or law, he exhibited extreme hate for IMN. As a fore-runner to the latest brutality, he issued an executive order banning us from exercising our rights to practice our religion with a threat to jail anyone who does up to seven years in his jail. For daring to mention that his order is in clear violation of all known sane laws of the land and beyond, he ordered the arrest and prosecution of Ibrahim Musa, the President of the Media Forum. How then can El-Rufai now shed crocodile tears having incited violence on a people through his hate posture and actions against such people? They read the body language of the government in their favour and acted based on that, and with full support of all the instruments of governance over which he presides.
We have it on record how certain individuals and hate preachers took to the media and the podium respectively calling on the masses to join the government of El-Rufai in what they termed an “all-out war on Shia.” The government and El-Rufai has neither refuted that nor call the perpetrators to order or better still arrest and punish the culprits, since they are well known and the actions were done in broad daylight. Simply put, El-Rufai is very much culpable.
We wish to remind the public that incitement to murder a vulnerable population can be so subtle. People read body languages, take cues, pick up signals and act accordingly. Other governors have quickly taken cue from him. Plateau state has taken cue and similarly banned activities of IMN, attacked and torched lives and properties in the same fashion as El-Rufai. Kano, Katsina and Sokoto states are gearing up to follow in their footprints. Unguarded utterances of political and traditional rulers, military and other security commanders as well as other hate preachers are on record and will be invaluable in due course at The Hague.
Let them be reminded that cases abound where leaders are held responsible through acts of commission or omission for crimes against humanity. Post-election violence of 2001 is still being looked at by the Criminal Court. Similarly, the Kenyan election violence case has been taken to the ICC, where those in authority are being tried because of the way they instigated the violence that led to the death of innocent people. Ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and the Rwandan examples are still fresh in our minds. The World is watching how he has been reckless in speech and actions leading to the deaths of hundreds of people, then he goes secretly burying in mass graves.
Finally, we will like to assure the public that after all this intimidation we will not be blackmailed into the path of violence. Sheikh Zakzaky has been known to be an advocate of peaceful coexistence between people of diverse viewpoints. We will not deviate from that path even though he is currently in illegal detention for the past ten months.
We call on the relevant authorities to as a matter of urgency to release our incarcerated leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and those in detention with him. This, we believe will be a major step in doing justice to the victims of Zaria massacre of December 2015.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN
As Shiites Muslims today Wednesday 12/10/16 commemorated Ashura Day in major cities across Nigeria, at least 13 of them has being allegedly killed by a combined teams of Nigerian security forces and hoodlums who accompanied them.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria says, “as the Ashura Day processions moved on, they attacked by a combined force of security agents and some others dressed as hoodlums as well as paid thugs escorting them, resulting in deaths in Funtua, Sokoto and Kaduna of at least 13.”
The procession of the martyrdom of Imam Husain started in Funtua, Katsina state peacefully, but was later stopped by a team of policemen who were drafted to the scene to forcibly stop the march. After firing teargas canisters on the procession, the police opened fire with live bullets killing nine instantly and injuring about 20 others. There are reports that they went with some victims.
In Kaduna, the peaceful Ashura procession was concluded without any incident. However, armed paid thugs attacked some members of IMN on their way to their various homes injuring them. This was followed by torching of Islamic Centre of IMN at Tudun wada Kaduna and subsequent demolition by a combined team of policemen and the Army. Three members of the Movement were killed there.
The story was similar in Jos, Plateau state, where armed soldiers brutally attacked the Ashura procession, then proceeded to invade the Islamic Centre belonging to IMN, making some arrests while threatening to demolish the worship complex.
Nevertheless, peaceful Ashura processions were conducted in Katsina, Yola, Potiskum, Suleja, Bauchi, Gombe, Lafia and Kano among many towns. In Kano though, the police arrested some Musulim sisters of IMN on their way to their various homes. These have been taken to Bompai police headquarters. A number of arrests were also made in Kaduna and were arraigned before the Shariah Court Daura road. These were sent to prison.
We are following developments and Will update as appropriate.
Following rumors and deliberately fabricated intelligence reports doing the rounds that members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are going to invade Kaduna and even attack clerics that supported the ban placed on the IMN by Nasiru El-Rufai, we find it necessary to relate our stance to the general public.
The IMN has no such plan of invading anywhere or attacking anybody, anywhere as it is not in the character and practice of the Movement to engage in any form of violence or intimidation even as it is a victim of such.
The Ashura event is a symbol in which adherents of the Islamic faith commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). It takes place every tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, beginning with the first ten days period of mourning, reaching its peak on the tenth day with the Ashura procession.
Indeed we are coming out in large numbers to join the world in marking Ashura Day. This is not the first time we are holding such a peaceful procession; those living along the route we normally take during the marching knew that it has always been peaceful for the past several years. The one coming up tomorrow across most of the state capitals of the federation will not be different.
We call on the public to dismiss such rumors intended at causing chaos and disrupting peace and serenity by creating unnecessary tension with the intention of painting the IMN black by its adversaries that include the Kaduna state government and its Wahhabi partners.
We also wish to say categorically that should anybody be attacked, intimidated or threatened through any manner or any means, the blame should go to Nasir El-Rufai, his cabinet and their Wahhabi partners that have concocted and are spreading the rumor to justify their evil intention of banning the IMN.
The essence of the Ashura march is to remind people of conscience, the brutal oppression suffered by Imam Husain (AS) at the hands of the tyrannical ruler Yazid bin Muawiya in the year 680AD.
The Karbala tragedy that happened on that day is difficult to fathom, but looking at what happened to Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and the IMN in December, 2015, it is easy to understand that there are really some wolfs in sheep clothing among humans.
We will use this opportunity to still press it on the authorities holding our leader Sheikh Zakzaky illegally to release him immediately so that he can attend to his medical needs.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM IMN
Several Shiites including women and children have been arrested and abducted by the Nigerian army as members of the “banned” Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, converged and assembled in Kaduna.
Earlier this week Kaduna state government proscribed the IMN, making membership of the organisation illegal and imposing a prison term of seven years and/or an unspecified fine for those who violated it.
It was feared that the move would be the latest in a series of measures designed to cripple the IMN and prevent it from staging peaceful mass demonstrations in support of its imprisoned leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and also stop the commemoration of Muharram which carries more significance in the Shia calendar.
The sheikh and his wife Zeenat, have been in detention without charge since December 2015 when they were shot during an army assault on the IMN in Zaria left over 1000 people dead. Sheikh Zakzaky has already lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes and risks losing his sight altogether unless he receives the proper medical attention.
The pair are being held mostly incommunicado by Nigeria’s intelligence services (DSS), against due process and in contravention of Nigerian and international law.
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has rejected a ban order by the Kaduna State government led by Governor Nasir El-rufai.
In a tersely worded statement by the group’s spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, the group described the report upon which the ban was based a “discredited”.
Read the full statement below:
On Friday October 7, 2016 the Kaduna state Governor, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufa’i issued out an order declaring the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as an unlawful society, with even a penalty of seven years in jail on its members. He claimed the executive council of Kaduna state arrived at the decision based on the already discredited recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria massacre carried out by the Army in Zaria last December.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) wishes to categorically make it clear to the general public that we vehemently reject such an order and declare it a flagrant infringement on our basic rights as citizens of this country to hold an opinion, associate freely without molestation. This is nothing but plot by Governor Elrufa’i to further its diabolic agenda of the massacre of innocent citizens having failed to accomplish it in December 2015.
All the sections cited to premise this decision are wrong. It is noteworthy that the state government based its dubious stance on the so-called recommendations of JCI while conveniently keeping mute on obvious gross violations of rights reported by the same JCI such as extrajudicial murder of 347 people and secretly burying them in mass graves without the consent of their relatives. Why didn’t it also talk of prosecuting the Nigerian Army Generals that were fingered out by the Commission as perpetrators of the genocide in Zaria? We cannot be deceived by the hypocritical stance of Governor Elrufa’i.
The government is fretting having failed to justify the continued detention of our leader and having failed to show any rational basis for the whole attack and are left with no option but to resort to absurdity. We wish to draw the attention of those behind such an illegal order that IMN is not an association or a society but a global concept that cannot be banned by fiat. We are not therefore distracted by this baseless move. Clearly reason, logic, the law and Constitution, conscience and propriety are all on the side of the Islamic Movement. Nothing can take away our right of as individuals or groups to worship and associate.
We will like to assure the general public that the state government will not distract our attention with its ban, into taking the path of violence, which it craves for. We will challenge this using all known peaceful and legal means in the ways and manner we have done for the last four decades. We will keep on demanding that justice be done with respect to Zaria massacre through lawful and peaceful means.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN