Unlawful Detention Of El-Zakzaky, The Many Errors Of Punch Editorial, By Ibrahim Musa

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

On Friday, 26 August 2016, the Punch newspaper carried an editorial titled: Unlawful detention of el-Zakzaky. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria really appreciates the effort put in by the newspaper, in at least voicing its concern over the Zaria massacre of 12-14 December, 2015, and also calling for the prosecution of the military personnel involved in that gruesome killings.

However, the editorial contained so many errors and inaccuracies, that we feel obliged to correct these factual misrepresentations that were severally and deeply embedded in the editorial. Setting the records straight we believe will leave an accurate legacy for posterity.
The Punch got it wrong right from the start in the sequence of the events that happened on those tragic days when it says “El-Zakzaky’s heart-rending ordeal started when members of the IMN, who were on an annual procession, blocked the convoy of Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, in Zaria, Kaduna State. In the ensuing tempest, Army personnel descended on members of the sect, killing many of them on the spot and at their headquarters in a three-day outrage. The tragedy was exacerbated by the belligerence of the IMN members.”

Members of the IMN were not on any procession on Saturday 12-12-15. A flag hoisting event was scheduled to take place in the evening, which never did because the Nigerian army started the killing spree from about midday that day, long before the purported arrival of the COAS. There wasn’t any road blockage. A look at video tapes of similar flag hoisting events in previous years will prove that IMN doesn’t block the road for these events. The road blockage theory was used by the Army and its co-conspirators as an alibi to justify initiating the brutal attack in the first place. The drama the army staged in front of Hussainiyyah using its own actors and filming same was part of the make-believe for the massacre and wanton destruction.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Had Punch bothered to look closely, it would not have failed to realise that there wasn’t any tempest after all. The Army simply opened fire on early arrivals at a venue of an event and proceeded to lay a siege until it killed those in the centre and destroyed the later. Many hours after that, the Army reinforced and went to Shaikh Zakzaky’s residence, located some five kilometres away from the Centre and massively killed civilians using the most unconventional weaponry in their armoury. They killed close to a thousand citizens over a period of thirty-six hours, torched buildings, evacuated corpses and buried them in mass graves at night about a hundred kilometres away, then denied they killed or dug any shallow grave. It was also in the process that Shaikh Ibrahim Zakzaky witnessed the blatant murder of his three children and elder sister among the hundreds killed. His wife and himself were fatally shot and humiliatingly ferried to incommunicado detention without charges for nine months now, and counting. Hundreds of IMN members including women and children two years and below were taken to court and charged with culpable homicide. Who then was belligerent? Certainly not the members of the IMN as the Punch editorial claimed.

That the Punch editorial team did not make a thorough background check of facts about us came to the fore when it stated “wives” and attributed them to Sheikh Zakzaky, when in reality our leader has only one wife.

We totally disagree with the Punch where it stated, “The blame for this horrible calamity lies with both the IMN and the government. Since the late 1970s when el-Zakzaky founded the sect, it has imperiled the socio-economic life of Zaria residents with its aggressive brand of Islam. Armed with weapons, its members regularly block major highways during its Quds and Ashura processions. They also reportedly openly brandish weapons. This is imprudent.” This is completely false and baseless. We are at loss as to where the Punch got its information from. This can only be from our enemies and detractors who want to justify the unjustifiable by all means.

We have stated it categorically severally in the past that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is not a ‘sect’ in any sense of the word. We are Muslims no doubt. Again, we are not practising a different type of Islam which the Punch finds it convenient to call ‘aggressive brand’. We don’t know that “aggressive” Islam the paper is talking about. It is on record that IMN members are the most tolerant group of people when you consider inter-faith or intra-faith relationships in this country. IMN members give protection to Christians even in their places of worship. Shaikh Zakzaky’s house was a “safe heaven” during tribal or religious upheavals in the past, including the post-election riots of 2011. It is widely known that you will never ever see IMN or its members involved in the spates of these tribal or religious wars plaguing the country. Thus, what aggression is Punch talking about? If the editorial team of Punch knows any community so brutally massacred and denied justice that continue to seek redress peacefully and patiently through the legal framework as we have doggedly pursued, they should let the world know.

The claim contained in the editorial that we ‘openly brandish weapons’ during our peaceful protest is mischievous. Even the Kangaroo commission of Inquiry set up by KDSG has stated that the widely held belief that we possess weapons was not substantiated. If the editorial team of Punch is in possession of any evidence that we brandish weapons openly in our processions, they should show it. Otherwise, they should do themselves good to limit their editorials to facts and not malicious allegation that the intent of its peddlers is pure mischief.

The Punch editorial also said, “El-Zakzaky’s case therefore presents an opportunity for the government to prosecute him and others in his shoes.” Is the Punch saying that the assailants, who is the government in this case should prosecute the victims, Shaikh Zakzaky and members of the IMN? The Punch has got it all mixed up. We believe people of conscience will not view this as the proper way for the government to write the wrong done to the IMN, Nigerians and the world in general.

We nevertheless agree with the Punch when it said in several places in the editorial, “His incarceration without trial is unlawful. It is an aberration that a democratic environment like ours abhors. Aso Rock’s weird silence over the past eight months on a simple matter of the rule of law is a sign of the insufferable arrogance of public office holders in our clime. This atrocity should have moved Buhari to instant action. But, in spite of the domestic and international outcry, the President has been silent. This falls short of expectation from a corrective government. The military officers who took the law into their own hands in the IMN incident should not be spared.”

Musa is the spokesman, Islamic Movement in Nigeria

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of TheSimonAtebaNews


TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now



WHO says social and environmental factors behind Africa’s low COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 transmission in Africa has been marked by relatively fewer infections, which have been on the decline over the past two...

South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria account for 71% of all COVID-19 cases in Africa

South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria continue to drive COVID-19 infections in Africa, accounting for 71% of all cases on...

New evidence shows refugees and migrants trapped in horrific cycle of abuses in Libya

Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in Libya are trapped in a vicious cycle of cruelty with little to no...

Amnesty International condemns grand jury’s decision not to file any charges in Breonna Taylor death

Amnesty International on Wednesday condemned a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to file any charges against any officers involved in Breonna...

Ethiopian health expert and WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is one of Time 100 most influential people in 2020

Ethiopian health expert and World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is one of Time Magazine's 100 most...


Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

Ethiopia charges prominent opposition figure Jawar Mohammed with terrorism

As human rights organizations continue to warn that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is turning Ethiopia into a dictatorship, his administration on...

WHO and UNICEF sign 10-year partnership to promote mental health of children and adolescents

 A new partnership between WHO and UNICEF is calling for key actions in universal health coverage, mental health, emergencies and nutrition

Bill Gates praises Africa’s response to COVID-19 but warns against collateral damage

Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Sunday praised Africa's response to the novel coronavirus but warned against collateral damage, including a drastic...

In moving film, UN calls for collective action to tackle global challenges, including COVID-19, racism, climate change and poverty

The United Nations, Project Everyone and 72 Films are launching “Nations United - Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times,” a first of...

IMF approves disbursement of additional $1 billion for Angola to respond to COVID-19 economic fallout

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday approved the disbursement of an additional $1 billion for Angola to respond to COVID-19 economic fallout, bringing total disbursements under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to $2.5 billion.The IMF executive board also approved an augmentation of total access for Angola by about $765 million through the end of the EFF arrangement.

Stay connected


[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]