SHAFAQNA – While there is no regret for the nation getting rid of the dangerous Jonathan government, Nigeria must be apprehensive in the face of the turn or perhaps return of this “change.”
Two days ago, President Buhari presented the 2016 budget to the National Assembly, despite Nigeria experiencing a highest level national security tragedy the preceding days. According to numbers from Human Rights Watch [Nigeria: Army Attack on Shia Unjustified-HRW], at least 300 murdered Muslims were criminally buried by the Nigerian Army to cover-up evidence of the extent of the Zaria “unjustified” massacre. ABU hospital received 200 bodies in the first day after (I haven’t checked update) and 13 more were handed over to families by the Kaduna police. Adding the numbers, at least 513 were killed and with numbers of bodies left on the streets, the claim of 1000-2000 dead is realistic. The nation’s presidency declining to address this tragedy and seeing it as important to present a budget at such time is scary and forecasts horror. This cannot happen anywhere else in the world. Once again, Nigeria is setting records.
Whether this loss of lives was a result of civilian or military terror, based on the numbers affected, it deserves a position as top national priority. It is not.
What has happened and continues to happen to these minority Muslims over the past decades, through military and civilian rules alike has the full hallmarks of State-orchestrated religious persecution.
Egypt’s Morsi allowed the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt. He called on Egyptian youth to go join the Syrian Jihadists. Morsi thought that because he had been elected into power with his zealous identity well known, that it indicated a blank ticket to perpetrate extremist Salafist and Wahhabi, Takfiri Sunni aggression on his people and others. He was wrong. The people were not ready for that, or at least, many enough weren’t and nor was the army.
While Buhari’s past is quite known, including his persecution of a Nigerian Sage, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigerians largely and unregretably voted for the “change” government because the nation badly needed a break from corruption and Buhari with his anti-corruption record was the only viable opposition.
However since assuming power, the Buhari government and the APC party have not only returned and attempted to return several politicians with far from stellate records to the helm of power, including the likes of late late Audu Abubakar to Kogi, Bayelsa’s many PDP and past indicted politicians, Lagos’ half-a million dollar borehole Fashola to the super Ministry and the like; but very importantly, the new government has put on the garb of total impunity as it fumbles in national security cases. While in the cases of Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu, where the government fumbled in pressing the right charges at the right time, I decline to bother or protest about the infractions, for the simple reasons that one error by the government should not lead to a worse one where they release publicly known open terrorists; the danger of such totalitarian governance soon hits us all. Sheikh Zakzaky and many of his faithfuls is again being held against the law, denied access to family and legal counsel.
Incompetence leading to the use of impunity: It was shocking that the State security department did not have the right charges for Kanu on time when his acts of treason and terror were all in the open as I had collated and written of since before he was even arrested. [Before The First Eastern Bomb: Declare Radio Boafra A Terrorist Organisation- Brimah, September 5, 2015] Indeed as at March this year, Nnamdi Kanu, real name, Nwannekaenyi Kenny Okwu-Kanu, had been declared wanted by the Imo state government for purchasing arms for terror. [See: General Overseers Of Guns – Sunnewsonline] But perhaps we must accept that the Buhari administration did not expect to get into power and unlike us, were not all over the news and intelligence sources constantly, but used to play draft and things, so we must give them time to get their act together. The issue however is the abuse of power and resort to impunity with its many risks.
Late Muhammed Bukhari was an ardent supporter of Muhammadu Buhari. He was part of the election observer team in Kogi state during the concluded general elections. Bukhari was murdered in cold blood while holed up in the Husainiyyah building. He and many others did not block any streets that blood crimson-river December day. They did not carry any deadly weapons and they did not stone anyone. They simply stayed in the Husainiyyah Islamic complex and watched and praised God as they were bombarded “like it was Sambisa,” as Bukhari said before he was killed.
Army Is Judge, Jury And Executioner
There was no procession that fateful day of blood rivers in Zaria. From 3pm till the morning of the 13th, the Nigerian army pounded locations where the minority Muslims were residing and killed everyone in sight. The army had behaved as judge and jury. The Kaduna government has since continued demolishing all properties owned by the movement including Zakzaky’s family home. The army continued massacres at Muslim cemeteries, according to the Human Rights Watch. [See: Nigerian Army Attack On Shia, Unjustified- HRW]
While one may argue that no civilian, and please do not be retarded to use the word, “bloody,” may block a road with sticks and stones, even if they are mad at an unaddressed massacre of their own by the same army a year back who again earlier in the day, positioned officers with loads of ammunition around their center as though ready for a new attack; it is the duty of the police (mobile) to clear such blockade and not the military, be it new recruit being blocked or Chief of Staff. Hence the extreme “they tried to kill me,” defense. I have addressed this explicitly [Zaria Massacre: Why CoAS Lt. General T. Y. Buratai Needs To Resign-Brimah] and so has Attorney Femi Falana. [Zaria Massacre: Falana wants Army Chief, Buratai, others prosecuted-Falana]
Thus the continued extra-judicial assault on the Islamic Movement, tolerated by the Buhari government reeks of one thing, sadly: religious persecution.
One can predict a heap of trumped-up charges that will be thrown on the Islamic Movement, of treason, trying to over throw Nigeria and other ridiculous stuff, all in the hope, not of saving the heads of the governors and military leadership culpable in the ongoing genocide, but sadly, in the hope of securing public and international complacency to complete the wipe-out of this Muslim minority.
Nigeria’s Sunni-Takfiri Zealots
In their divide-and-rule conquerors protocol, the colonialist, just like they sought and invested in cultural differences in Africa, figured that to make the Middle East helplessly dependent on them and to ensure permanent chaos, differences must be exploited. So-called Sunni and Shia had been living side by side mostly in peace and love for decades. Most just called each-other fellow Muslims and did not even regard the arbitrary and erroneous (Haram) terms, “Sunni, Shia.”
The colonialist exploited the theological differences and created divides based on this. [See: Sunni-Shiite Conflict Reflects Modern Power Struggle, Not Theological Schism] They intentionally handed over the split-up Arab world which was till before 1914 largely under the Ottoman “caliphate” to minority dictators who where thereby insecure and guaranteed to depend on them to hold power. The French upgraded the minority Alawaites in the army and socially to create their pathway to power over Sunni majority Syria. The British who got Transjordan (Jordan, Palestine and Israel), Iraq and Hijaz-ul-Arabia, gave one family, three puppet sons of Sheriff Hussein, one got Arabia, another-Jordan, and Faisal was given Iraq. [Watch: 1914: The Shaping of the Modern Muslim World – Part 1 ~ Dr. Yasir Qadhi] Later the Britts raised the Saud family who overthrew the Hussein family and renamed Saudi Arabia after their name. This became the capital of extremist Wahhabi and Takfiri ideology and finance. Read about the McMahon–Hussein correspondence and Sykes Picot agreement and Treaty of Versailles.
The colonialists created and empowered the Wahhabi Saudi leadership to spread the extremist Salafi/Sunni-Takfiri extremist ideology. What is Takfiri: a Takfiri is a “Sunni” Muslim who feels he is better than anyone else and denies freedom of individual theology and worship to others, believing he has the right to kill anyone who is different from him. Takfiri declare “Shia” worthy of death. They declare Christians, Yazidis, Copts and the like, worthy of death. In fact they kill Muslims who they view as different with even more passion than they pursue Christians and others and by no accident, and thankfully for this group, they are hardly found pursuing Jews and are often accused of cooperating with Israel to together eliminate their common enemies, usually other Muslim groups. [See: The Islamic State (ISIS) and Israel are Allies]
Pew Poll: Nigeria Has Highest Number Of Muslims Who Support ISIS
Unfortunately, Nigeria is one of the worst Muslim nations in the world according to data. Boko Haram being able to establish in Nigeria is no accident. The people were largely silent about Boko Haram, the Sultan said nothing as he does again now as Muslims are being massacred buy the army. Some like PDP’s Bamanga Tukur, praised recently by Buhari even positively appraised Boko Haram. [Boko Haram is fighting for justice –Tukur — The Punch]
Nigeria has the most religiously intolerant people. We cannot deny or claim to ignore our history of intolerance by the larger Sunni north; all the times the youth ran the streets and burned down Churches, Igbo homes and the like for the flimsiest reasons: beauty pageant, Buhari loss, what have you. The first point of attack is Churches as a result of this Takfiri mentality that abounds among Muslims in Nigeria’s north.
While Nigeria was high but not the highest of those who had no comment on ISIS/Daesh, of all Muslim nations polled in the recent Pew poll, Nigeria had the highest favorability of the terror group. 14% of Nigerians viewed Daesh favorably. This is tragic. Compared, a well mixed nation like Lebanon with 50% of its 54% Muslims “Shia” and “50%” “Sunni, and a large Christian population (40%) had a 100% hate for Daesh. [Pew Poll: Nigeria Has Highest ‘favorable’ Attitude Toward Isis Of World Countries]
One in Five Nigerian Muslim Likes Daesh
The worst figure was the number of Nigerian Muslims who liked ISIS: 20%! That is 1 in every 5 Nigerian Muslims according to the poll agree with ISIS ideology of killing and persecuting, denying freedom of worship with death and terrorizing civilians globally with bombs including by suicidal means. Malaysia came a distant second with about 1 in 10 of its Muslims finding Daesh favorable. The numbers explain a lot.
This Sunni-Takfiri attitude is quickly picked in comments on media in relation to the globally condemned(except Takfiri-capital, Saudi Arabia) massacre of the Islamic Movement. And it is this extremist mentality that sadly it appears propelled the Nigerian army to attempt/initiate a genocide of the 10 million minority Muslims in Nigeria (according to Pew Poll, “Shia” are 12% of Nigeria’s 60 million Muslims= 7.2 million) and that continues to propel the Kaduna government to demolish their properties without court order (nothing new here, thoug) and propels the Buhari Presidency not to comment on this national tragedy.
Sunni Vs Shia
I see these two erroneous groups as two sides of a coin. The Quran condemns such names. While none of these two names existed in the time of the Muslim prophet, the innovation of using these names gives a way to describe two similar peoples. I’ll categorize them easily and enable you pick which group is more prone to peace and which, violence.
While the so-called Shia practice self-flagellation, whipping themselves to teach each other extreme patience and non violence [Why self-flagellation matters for Shias-Nadeem Kazmi], the other, so-called “Sunni” practice “others-flagellation,” if such word exists. The Sunni are the ones more common to find beating and killing others because the Sunni feel they are better than everyone else. You will more easily find a rabbit running in day light than find a “Shia” terrorist. Majorities who have been subjugated and oppressed in Iraq by Saddam and Bahrain, they never resort to terror. The same cannot be said of Sunni-Takfiris. The Northern governors saying, “we do not want to create another Boko Haram,” is frank lies. They know “Shia” are hardly every historically terrorists. They do not do Sunni-Takfiri murder of civilians to prove a point. If they did, when they were oppressed by Abacha or when Jonathan killed three of their leaders’ sons and 31 other members, they would have strapped on. It is because they are known for their peaceful nature that the Nigerian government continues to kill them and demolish their structures extra-judicially.
You will typically hear a Sunni-Takfiri say, “the Shia deserve to be killed” because they insult the “Sahaba (companions of the Prophet). This is deadly ignorance. For one thing, Islam does not say kill anyone who has a varying belief or insults your revered persons. And for a second thing, the so-called “Shia” highest authority in 2010 gave a FATWA banning such insult of the Prophet of Islam’s companions or wives. [Imam Khamenei Fatwa: Insulting Symbols Of Sunni Brothers Forbidden] So ignorance and idiocy fuels their deadly tendencies and this continued narrative used by Takfiri-Sunni to fuel their deadly intolerance.
But Nigeria’s military brass, northern Elite and some spiritual leaders feed the people these outdated and erroneous extremist ideas to further their Takfiri deadly campaigns of hate and intolerance.
You do not have to die for your belief or disbelief.
You do not have to die for your Church or Mosque blocking traffic. Let the police control that.
You do not have to die for blocking the Chief of Army Staff. Again, let the mobile police deal with that.
But to everyone else, remember one day you too will die.
By Peregrino Brimah – The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.