I apologise to those who feel offended by the position I took with regards to the #ZariaMassacre. I apologise not because I regret the position I have taken, but rather because I am unable to bend my deep belief just to satisfy you.
I maintain, that from the video clip I saw going round in social media, I am convinced that the Shiite group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria, overeached itself and indeed, those who barricaded the road and refused the COAS (Or any citizen at all) the right of way ought to be punished, and severely too.
While the right to freedom of religion and assembly are guaranteed rights, these rights must not be exercised in a manner that infringe on the rights of others too, as in this case.
The point however is that, despite the fact that the Shiite group has committed wrongs, is the killing of over 200 of its members, in gestapo style, by the military justified? Methinks NOT!
There is a rule of proportionality under the law of war and armed conflicts as well as under our municipal laws that require that the extent of force applied to either arrest and bring a suspect to justice must be proportional to the harm/crime suspected to have been committed.
In the instant case, the military did real fine in its initial approach of adopting moral persuasion to get the worshippers off the road, when this failed, it MIGHT have been reasonably justifiable if shots were fired into the air to scare them away, and it MAY have been difficult to blame the military if a few casualties were thereby recorded. Here the military first retreated, went back for backup and came back hours later, like a thief in the night, not to arrest the members of the Islamic Movement, but to maim, kill and slaughter, perharps, innocent members of the group in thier homes in a revenge format. This is nothing near proper in the standards civil policing.
I do not begrudge those who think the action of the Nigerian Army is in order. Yes, we still haven’t fully cleared the psyche imposed on us by several years of continous military rule. I also do not see the psyche totally clearing away very soon.
For those who think, “well the Shiite group are a pain in the ass and got what they deserved”, Maybe we should think about student activists and unionists who in the course of protests would regularly barricade highways, damage vehicles and stop flow of traffic. Even in those times, it was wrong for the military or police to kill the protesters wantonly, ditto the Shiite worshippers.
While not trying to justify the activities of the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, it will be good for us to mention and acknowledge that they are not the only ones guilty of infringing on other citizens’ rights in the course of their worship. Every Friday all over the country, major roads are barricaded and the use suspended because of Islamic prayers. Many Churches are also in the habit of barricading major highways and other roads because they have special programmes like “Shiloh”, “Special Holy Ghost Programmes” etc. As long as these create difficulty for me in the course of my passage, it amounts to a violation.
Truth is the Military is not best equipped for civil policing, they can only called in when the Police is overwhelmed. It is the reason why the army should have called in the police to handle the erring worshippers. Yes, I have heard many people sneer at the idea. My response is simply: Is the military above the law? Are we saying the military is not subject to civil authorities? If yes, why then have they gone to submit a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission in an afterthought, face-saving attempt to ‘damage-control’.
So if we feel, because we do not like the Shiites afterall, it’s ok for them to be massacred. Think twice, it may just be the turn of your own company tomorrow and it will be too late to talk.
NB: 5 members of IPOB were killed by security forces last week while celebrating the order of a court granting Nnamdi Kanu, it’s leader, unconditional bail, but it’s convenient not to talk about it, afterall we don’t like those IPOB people.
Like someone once said, it is the height of patriotism to tell our country the truth when it is acting in error.
God Bless Nigeria!!!