Quite sad to read as various commentaries, editorials and investigative reports narrates the horrific use of excessive force and unprofessional use of live bullets by the Nigerian Army which led to the killing of at least 45 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and several hundreds injured. This is inhumane!
How some Nigerians try go give meaning or some sought of justification to this dastardly act by the army is really worrying. Honestly, I still cannot not relate to how some persons will try to justify this act against humanity. One cannot be rightly wrong or wrongly right, it is either you are right or wrong. No justification whatsoever for the killings of protesters, more so, when standard rules of engagement has not been properly prosecuted. Recall, in 2015, thousands of Shiites where killed and hurriedly burried, their homes and property destroyed in Zaria simply because one of their members “touched” the “chest” of an army personnel. What bunkum!
In his op-ed on the most recent killings of Shiitte protesters by the Nigerian Army in the Federal capital territory, Socratest: Mbamalu said: “In Nigeria, when the state kills you, it is ordinary Nigerian citizens that justify the killing. In what was a brazen show of extra-judicial killing, the Nigerian Army, in broad daylight, killed 45 protesters. The protesters, Shiite Muslims, protested against the continued incarceration of their leader Sheik Ibraheem El-ZakZaky. The protests took place in Abuja, the country’s capital. The protesters clashed with a convoy of soldiers and pelted them with stones. The soldiers, trained for the purpose of external aggression, turned that aggression on their countrymen and women and shot live bullets at them.”
It is imperative I place this on records, most Nigerians were outraged, appalled and strongly condemned the actions of the Nigerian Army and promulgated same via various media. Truthfully, it is refreshing to hear voice of reason and comforting to know many Nigerians are still emphatic and will rise to the occasion and speak full-throated against any form of abuse of state power.
Methinks, it is high time the leaders of IMN got all their members off this streets. The spate of this deaths are disheartening. Without mincing words, it seems the Shiitte are dealing with a government that appear to be on a deliberate purpose against the sect. You are up against an administration with no respect for human lives and values. You are encountering a military who from available indices are divorced from known internationally recognized and accepted rules of engagement. More so, the sect have lost thousands of members, some maimed, some detained and some in disarray. This in itself should instigate a tactical retreat and re-evaluation of your modus operandi. The life of one of your members is precious. Bear in mind, the loss of a member has ripple effect of your organization, their families and loved ones. The pain in-house is spreading faster than you can imagine. Please do the needful. Get off the streets now.
This is not in any way depriving you of your fundamental rights to association or peaceful demonstration or carrying out your religious duties in accordance to the laws of the land. But, at this critical point, we do need to place more premiums of human lives.
Dr. Chima M. Amadi aptly captures my position when he tweeted: “Please Shiite Leaders, get your people off the streets now. These bloodsuckers are bent on eviscerating you. Don’t let them reduce the numbers of those who will vote them out and ensure they pay for your losses. Only your votes can give you your pound of flesh. Act smart.”
The gross level of human rights abuses have increased to a level that we all need to be more worried. This senseless killings of your members is quite avoidable. I appeal to your humanity and conscience that you let the voice of reason prevail, for the greater good and safety of lives!
Retreat, please. Be good.
Oyewole Michael writes from Ado-Ekiti and tweets via @Rolex7Michael