Deji Adeyanju writes on this week’s widespread attacks on the Shi’ite Muslims in Northern Nigeria. He places the blame right at the feet of the president, General Muhammadu Buhari.
This weeks’ brutal attacks on Shiite Muslims in Kaduna, Katsina and Plateau States corroborate the assertion that Nigeria is at its most fractured state – politically, socio-economically, ethnically and religiously – since the Civil War.
These attacks by murderous mobs were predictable in the wake by the recent proscription of Shiite Islam by the administrations of Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi States, as well as the blatant refusal of the Federal Government to sanction any of the officers culpable for mass murder of 347 Shiite Muslims in December 2015 (official figures, although the figures are believed to be significantly higher).
The fact that the men of the Nigerian Military as well as Nigerian Police Force gave security cover to the murderous mobs as these attacks were carried out is very worrisome.
It is even more worrisome that while giving an address yesterday regarding the attacks by Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital, President Muhammadu Buhari was completely silent about the attacks on Shiite Muslims in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina States during which a high number of casualties were recorded and property worth hundreds of millions of Naira were recorded.
The combination of these facts leads to the inescapable conclusion that these attacks were sponsored and promoted by the Nigerian State at the Federal & State levels.
It also difficult to escape the conclusion of that this onslaught is an internalization of the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims from the Middle East, even if one does not know the objective its promoters seeks to achieve.
It is sad that our country and its leaders have failed to learn from the cycles of violence and repression that led to the creation of the Maitatsine Sect in the late 70s and early 80s; and the more recent creation of the terrorism group – Boko Haram.
As much as one is mindful of the “infractions” of the Shiite Sect in Zaria, the solution cannot be a resort to state sponsored violence and the extra-judicial mob murder of hundreds of people.
What is worse is that while the murders of Shiites in December 2015 was justified by an asinine reference to Shiites“…touching the chests of generals” there is no justification for these recent acts of aggression and terror. Nothing but mindless violence.
The decision of the Buhari administration to use force as a one size fits all solution to every challenge or act of opposition is slowly but surely leading Nigeria to the brink of collapse.
At this point, it is the duty of all well meaning Nigerians to call the Federal Government and the governments of Kano, Katsina and Kebbi States to order. The rights to freedom of religion and peaceful assembly are inalienable rights guaranteed by Sections 38 and 40 of the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court in a plethora of cases.
It is also necessary for all Nigerians to urge the Federal Government to realise that the use of force is not a panacea to all the issues that plague Nigeria. The use of brute force to repress ideologies has failed in Nigeria, and in the past has led to the creation of monsters such as the above referenced Maitatsine Sect and Boko Haram.
God bless Nigeria.
Deji Adeyanju is director of Social Media of the People’s Democratic Party. He is also a former aide at the Presidency. He tweets from @adeyanjudeji.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.