Open Letter to Nigerian President: Confirm or Deny

By Abdulmumin Giwa

Dear Mr. President,

It is a well-known fact that members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the revered leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky have refused to allow the mass killing of their members to be swept under the carpet despite all efforts including the use of excessive force on them and the abuse of their fundamental rights as well as blackmail.

The Movement has sustained the tempo and kept everything alive to date since the incident when the Nigerian Army launched a killing spree of its members from 12th to 15th of December 2015. Since the incident, over one thousand members of the Movement have disappeared for which the government declared at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, JCI in Kaduna that it buried 347 of them in a mass grave at Mando village near Kaduna.

The government also demolished properties belonging to the movement and its members including the residence of the leader Sheikh Zakzaky, the Hussainiyya Baqiyyatullah Islamic Center, the Fudiyya Islamic Center, the Darur Rahma Cemetery and Film Village, the residence of Sheikh Zakzaky’s mother, Fudiyya Primary/Secondary Schools in some states, Several Islamic Centers in some states, personal property of members in some states and several others.

In addition to all these, over 200 of the members are still languishing in various prisons in some states without charges and in some states especially Kaduna state they are under some concocted charges facing trial for over 18 months now.

Most importantly, the revered leader of the Movement Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Sister Zeenatuddeen Ibrahim are being kept in illegal detention in the name of protective custody, a thing since dismissed by a competent court of jurisdiction as unconstitutional. The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the immediate and unconstitutional release of the Sheikh and his wife, payment of damages, provision of another residence and police protection. Sadly, the government has turned deaf ears to the court judgment by acting in contempt of court.

The revered leader of the Movement and his wife are being detained in denial of their fundamental rights and in contradiction of the tenets of democracy still in its nascent stage in the country. This detention is despite their deteriorating health condition which has been confirmed by government appointed health experts to require urgent attention. In other words they are being tortured with their health condition by the government which has refused them medical attention.

All these and many others not mentioned due to lack of space were said to have happened as a result of blocking the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS as insinuated by the government.

Just of recent, the Crowned Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad Bin Salman in an interview with Time magazine, also quoted by the German Radio DW, stated as part of his achievements so far that he has succeeded in breaking Iranian influence in Africa by 95%. He mentioned among others that he had crushed the backbone of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky who he claimed is leading a Hizbullah type of Movement that is trying to overthrow the government.

The Saudi Crowned Prince bragged of his achievement of sponsoring a crackdown on the movement and breaking its backbone in Nigeria.

Nigerians in the last three years see the government to be exceptionally committed to eradicating the Islamic Movement and have witnessed how the Saudi regime openly congratulated the Nigerian government for the mass murder of innocent and unarmed men, women and children in Zaria in December 2015.

In addition to this, Nigerians also witnessed how the Saudi regime gave you its highest national honor by opening the gates of the Ka’abah for you after the mass murder. There are also several statements you made in some Arab media in the Middle East where you mentioned efforts you are making to eradicate the Shia and Sheikh Zakzaky, the video clips of which are widely available.

On Tuesday 1st March 2016, the Qatari News TV channel Al-Arabiyya made a report on your visit to the rich oil state. You warned of what you called ‘Iranian missionary activity in Africa’ which you said posed an increased danger by spreading information aimed at sowing division and sectarian sedition and unrest. You also launched a new warning against Iranian activity promoting what you described as revolutionary activity in Africa.

More so, Nigerians have seen how you have been receiving and honoring the Wahhabi scholar that are sponsored by at the presidency. These scholars are known to most Nigerians as agents of sectarianism who feed on spreading Shia phobia.

Nigerians know you as a Sunni Muslim adherent and a Nigerian president. It is rather unfortunate that you are carried away by sectarian bias and chose to belong to the Sunni Muslims alone by using your executive position to fight against the Shia Muslims with vigor. With these available facts, the implication is that the statement made by the Saudi Crowned Prince rightly implicates you of collaboration with Wahhabi forces to clampdown on and crush the Shia adherents in Nigeria.

It is not clear how much has been paid by the Saudis that led to your stamping and approving the killing of your citizens in the most brutal manner one could imagine. Some were burned alive, others were buried alive, others tortured to death and the injured and helpless persons summarily killed at close range when they could easily be handed over to police. This brutality was sustained for over 48 hours just for blocking the way for the convoy of the Army Chief.

In this regard, Nigerians deserve the right to know the truth. You should honorably come out to either confirm the statement of the Crowned Prince of Saudi Arabia that you were sponsored by their Wahhabi regime to kill their Shia rivals in Nigeria or deny it.

It is by confirming or denying this that Nigerians will understand whether their lives are safe when they belong to religious or ethnic inclinations in

Nigeria, that their rivals from any part of the world will not sponsor you to eliminate them. Hence, Mr. President kindly confirm or deny.

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