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‘Buhari Was Briefed And He Sanctioned And Ordered Massacre Of Shi’ites’

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The largest Shi’ite sect in Nigeria, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has alleged that Nigeria’s president, General Muhammadu Buhari personally ordered the genocide of its members in the December 2015 massacre which took place in Zaria.

The Shi’ite sect has formally rejected the report of the Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry, which probed the December 12-14 confrontation between the Nigerian Army chief, General Tukur Buratai and members of the Islamic sect which culminated in a systematic genocide of the Shi’ite by the Nigerian Army.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, August 11, 2016, chairperson of the Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola said the ‘massacre’ of its members in Zaria was authorised by President Muhammadu Buhari.

'Arrest the Butcher of Zaria, Lt. Gen Buratai': Protests in London over the Zaria massacre of Shi'ites by Nigerian Army as President Buhari visits London on May 10 - May 14, 2016 for an anti-corruption summit | ABNA
‘Arrest the Butcher of Zaria, Lt. Gen Buratai’: Protests in London over the Zaria massacre of Shi’ites by Nigerian Army as President Buhari visits London on May 10 – May 14, 2016 for an anti-corruption summit | ABNA

The group alleged that, not only was President Buhari briefed ahead of the killings of its members, the President sanctioned and ordered it.

“It seems fairly obvious that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) was a typical commission with a pre-determined mandate and report. Consequently, we reject the report and its recommendations,” Yola said.

On the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the alleged ‘killings’ of the Shi’ites members, Yola said, “Allegation of forming a parallel authority by the IMN is a time-long allegation.

“It was one that even President, Muhammadu Buhari mentioned with so much disgust and animosity during his maiden media chat. He repeated the same as reason why his government had to clamp down violently on the IMN while fielding questions on a foreign TV news channel in Qatar.

“It was also the clearest indication that the president was not only briefed about the clamp down, he sanctioned and ordered it.”

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria Statement is reproduced, in full, below:

On the 29th day of July 2016 the Kaduna State Government released the Executive Summary and Full Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) set up to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the December 12-14, 2015 violent attack by the Nigerian Army on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), in Zaria resulting in the death of over 1000 persons and wanton destruction properties.
On the setting up of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) made it clear that what the Kaduna State Government set up was an Indictment Commission and not a Judicial Commission of Inquiry and we feel vindicated given the events and issues that have been unraveled since the submission of the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

It is on record that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) boycotted the sitting of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and we stated our reasons for so doing and we restate those reasons which we consider as valid:

The Kaduna State Government deliberately appointed persons that have consistently maintained that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria should be banned and its schools and facilities closed down and confiscated by the government. These individuals saw their membership of the Commission as a golden opportunity to actualize their pre-determined position against the Movement. The Government also appointed security agents to the Commission to protect the interests of their colleagues against the Movement and made no attempt whatsoever to appoint representatives of the Movement and Independent Human Rights Groups and Organisations. For the Movement, these individuals were automatically disqualified and should have disqualified themselves as they are interested parties and cannot exercise independent judgment on a matter they had taken a position on.

The Kaduna State Government even before setting up the Judicial Commission had blamed the Islamic Movement in Nigeria for instigating the events that led to the massacre of its members. The Governor of Kaduna State claimed that the Movement had set up a Government within a Government and claimed that it erected the Headquarters of the Movement and the House of our Leader without following due process.

The Kaduna State Government also connived with the Nigerian Army and buried over 1000 of our members without affording us an opportunity to bury them in accordance with Islamic Injunctions. The Kaduna State Government broke its own laws in carrying out the burial.
While the Kaduna State Government claimed that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry will be fact finding and determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident, it had already made up its mind that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is guilty and charged over 400 of our members to Court. It had to drop the charges against minors and juveniles based on pressure from the Nigerian people and the international community. The charges against our members are still going on in 5 different High Courts in Kaduna State and all of them have been denied bail on grounds that over 250 of them allegedly killed one soldier and no single security or military officer is facing trial for the death of over 1000 members of the IMN.

It is also incongruous that a Judicial Commission that visited persons not directly involved in the crisis refused to visit the Kaduna Central prison where over 70 of the detainees are carrying gunshot wounds and yet it claimed it wanted to determine the number of persons injured. The same Commission did not find it convenient to ascertain the number of our members that died in prisons and police custody.
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry made sure that our leader did not get a hearing. Our Legal Team led by Femi Falana, SAN and Festus Okoye Esq. made spirited attempts to secure access to him to no avail. The Judicial Commission also decided not to order the security agencies to produce him because they never wanted him to testify. It is based on this that the Government and the Military and other security agencies found it convenient to lie against him in the Commission.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is therefore convinced that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry delivered on its mandate of returning a verdict that will lead to the unconstitutional banning of the Movement and its activities.
In rejecting the report of the Judicial Commission of inquiry, we will demonstrate from their own findings and conclusions that they executed a pre-determined mandate and returned a pre-determined verdict.
On the Report of the Judicial Commission of inquiry.

In its opening paragraph, the Kaduna state Judicial Commission of Inquiry clearly indicated where it leaned when it stated that: “In December 12-14, 2015, hundreds of people were killed in Zaria following clashes between the Nigerian Army (NA) and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). The assumption here is that what happened that eventful weekend was a clash, and they repeatedly used the word to make everyone accept that it was a clash. However considering the large number of people killed by the Army within so short a period, it would be wrong for any discerning mind to believe that a clash ensued in Zaria. The fact that most of the killings occurred after the Army Chief fired his way out of the purported blockade, many hours after that is enough indication that there wasnt any clash as parroted in the report of JCI. It was just a case of the Army attacking armless civilians, killing hundreds of them and destroying their properties.

In the report it was stated that “Considering the nature and organizational structure of the IMN, where the leader has the total control over the members, Sheikh Ibraheem EI-Zakzaky should be personally held responsible for all the acts of commission and omission of the entire membership of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in its clashes with the Nigerian Army for refusing to call his members to order when required to do so. We consider this finding and recommendation as absurd. This recommendation was based on an alleged phone call by the Governor. The Governor never appeared before the Judicial Commission and the Commission never approached our leader for his own side of the story. It is gross miscarriage of justice to indict someone (victim) based on what one party (in this case the assailant) said. By virtue of Section 36 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution, no government can hold anyone guilty of any offence or wrongdoing without affording him or her opportunity to react to the allegation. We find this assertions totally against the principle of natural justice, which affirms that no one shall be condemned unheard. For the Chairman who is a senior Judicial officer to preside over a Judicial Commission that made this recommendation is regrettable. But he gave the Kaduna state government and the Army ample opportunity to present their case before the commission, whereas Sheikh Zakzaky and other members of the Islamic Movement incarcerated along with him were denied such opportunity.
The Commission mentioned that all incidents of violence and aggression by the members of the IMN against individuals, groups or communities, which have resulted in grievous bodily harm, destruction of properties and deaths, should be fully investigated and culprits brought to book. Where appropriate, compensations should be paid. We make bold to state that there was no proven case of violence against any individual throughout the sitting of the Commission. The Commission only heard moonlight stories by people with vested interest in the annihilation of the Movement. No single individual came forward to allege any form of brutality by the Movement and yet the Commission made far reaching finding based on hearsay evidence. In the course of the public hearing, some paid agents were contracted to throw spurious allegations against the IMN, including cases that had been long decided by appropriate courts up to appeal courts and settled in favour of IMN members. However JCI swallowed everything thrown at it – line, hook and sinker – without making attempts at any verification because it coincided with their pre-determined resolve to return a guilty verdict against the Movement.

The Judicial Commission In its Report recommended that the State Government should investigate and repossess all illegally acquired public lands from IMN and utilize same for Public Interest. This recommendation has no basis in their report. There was never an instance where IMN was shown to have illegally acquired public lands. So how does the state government investigate an offence that has not been committed? Clearly, this is part of the original hidden agenda and pre-doctored report handed to the JCI by those with vested interests in our property. It is noteworthy that the Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai had similarly alleged the same in his ill-fated state broadcast in the wake of the assault. At the public hearing however, he changed gear and alleged that the structures were so damaged that they posed public health hazards and that was why they were destroyed. The report had obviously forgotten to change this aspect of the report to toe the new official position.

Another recommendation by JCI is that the IMN should be made to conform to all constitutional requirements and the provisions of other by-laws in obtaining land, building or acquiring structures and must conform to all building regulations, however, whenever and wherever it so desires to build or acquire land or property. This is just about similar to the last conjecture by the JCI. They never showed or proved that IMN did not conform to what they termed all constitutional requirements in obtaining land, building or acquiring structures, yet they can recommend this. What manner of Commission!

It was also stated that all the dangerous weapons recovered from the IMN members should be turned over to the Police for further necessary action. This is yet another subtle but dangerous suggestion they call recommendation by the JCI. What dangerous weapons were recovered from IMN? They should have enumerated them for the world to see. The whole of the inquiry was a sham right from the outset. This recommendation is at variance with what they wrote in the main report on page 54 that The cordon and search however did not reveal significant quantities of weapons found. The assumption that the IMN in Zaria was heavily armed was not verified.
Also stated is that The Government should deal with the IMN in accordance with the laws and regulations of the land and be made to conduct its activities and affairs within the ambit of the law at all times. This recommendation is ambiguous. How was the government dealing with the IMN? How does the conduct of activities by the IMN get out of the ambit of the law at any time? If they found any specific instance they should have mentioned it.

It was also stated that Intelligence reports by security agencies regarding threats to security, law and order should be taken seriously and acted upon timeously to nip in the bud such occurrence. Their so-called intelligence reports should be based on facts and be the truth. The so-called intelligence community is the greatest threat to security, law and order. They concoct spurious stories and return them as intelligence reports. We have seen several baseless allegations being ferried as intelligence.

The report stated that Mechanism should be put in place for the proposed Bill on Religious Preaching to be passed into law as quickly as possible and implemented with a view to purging Religious Groups which embark on provocative teachings and preaching. On this the Kaduna state governor has found a convenient way of re-introducing his controversial Bill on Religious Preaching. It really matters not to IMN whether or not it is passed into law as we all know the preachers who embark on provocative teachings and practices. The governor and the Nigerian Army in the wake of this massacre even engaged their services to justify the brutal assault. They are doing the same presently to push the absurd recommendations down the throats of Nigerians.

Also included in the report is that compensation should be paid to all those persons who complained before the Commission that their properties were either destroyed or damaged as a result of the clash. This is a very laughable recommendation by the JCI. Why should compensation be paid to only those who complained before it? The government was responsible for all destruction and must be held to account by fully paying all compensations whether or not people complained. The government cannot destroy peoples property and expect them to beg to be paid compensation. It is because the Commission had an agenda that informed this recommendation. A Judicial Officer found as a fact that the government did not follow due process in demolishing the properties of the Movement and yet turned round to recommend that compensation should not be paid because the Islamic Movement whose leader is being held in solitary confinement has not complained.

The Report advised the Government to make effort to reduce the number of idle hands that might otherwise be willing recruits for the Movement by providing employment to the teaming masses of the State. For the avoidance of doubt the Movement is not composed of idle hands. We can proudly state that no member of the IMN is a beggar on the street. However, the government should carry out its primary responsibility of providing jobs for people and reducing poverty.

The Report advised that constructive engagement with the leadership of the IMN should not be foreclosed. Our view on this is that once this engagement is based on respect and dignity, this will be feasible.

Also the Commission recommended that The State Government should ensure that investigations against all persons under detention in respect of these clashes between the NA and the IMN on 12th 14th December, 2015 are concluded and treated expeditiously”. This is another unfair recommendation by JCI. You term the unjustifiable assault on civilian population by well-armed soldiers with sophisticated weapons a clash. Victims were abducted and unjustifiably detained, while the soldiers who carried out the massacre walk about freely, and then a so-called Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up would come up with this absurd recommendation? Investigations against all persons under detention means that the few victims that did not die but were taken alive by the assailants be further persecuted. Those who carried out the attack would not be investigated since none is detained among them.

The report stated that, The Commission is of the view that the use of excessive force by the Nigerian Army, which led to the heavy casualties recorded in the Cordon and Search Operation is an act of commission for which the NA is directly responsible. The Commission therefore recommends that steps should immediately be taken to identify the members of the NA who participated in the killings of 12th 14th December 2015 incident with a view to prosecuting them. This recommendation seeks to shield those that carried out the Zaria massacre. The Army in their submission submitted the names of its officers and men that carried out the massacre and yet the Commission was either afraid or stuck to its pre-determined agenda and shifted the burden to steps.

In the report it is stated that The Federal Government should explore diplomatic means to dissuade other Countries from interfering in the Internal Affairs of Nigeria”. This recommendation is vague but clearly has mischief imbedded in it. JCI should have been specific about what countries were interfering in the Internal Affairs of Nigeria in this instance. They should have been very specific about what they considered the Internal Affairs of Nigeria and what in their minds constitutes interference. It is observed that several countries sent representatives to monitor proceedings of the JCI itself. The US Ambassador was quoted as saying that Shaikh Zakzaky is a man of peace. The Saudi Monarch was quoted as sending a congratulatory note to the President of Nigeria saying the Zaria attack was a fight against terrorism. Many countries spoke either for or against the issues before them. There were also global rallies and protests on this matter. JCI therefore needed to be clearer and state clearly what it was asked to do and say rather than hiding under a nebulous concept of non interference.
JCI also recommended that Members of the IMN should never be allowed to carry any unlicensed weapon under any guise. Whosoever found so doing should be prosecuted immediately. However IMN has as a matter of principle never ever contemplated carrying of weapons. But this recommendation was added to indelibly paint at the back of minds of people that IMN carries weapons. Forget that they said in their own report that: “The assumption that the IMN in Zaria was heavily armed was not verified”. It is well embedded in the report that many people would not bother to read beyond the recommendations.

The Commission also recommended that The Federal Government should have the political will to deal with such threats posed by the IMN and similar groups. Testimonies at the proceedings of the Commission by various stakeholders, pointed to non-implementation of the recommendations of previous reports of other Commissions of Inquiry relating to the IMN and other groups who were found to have posed grave threats to law, order and peaceful coexistence. Of particular relevance were the Galtimari and the Sheikh Lemu Presidential Commission pertaining to Boko Haram insurgency”. This is another subtle but damaging and injurious recommendation given by the JCI. This would suggest that the IMN poses threat to the Federal Government, without coming up with any evidence whatsoever besides what persons and groups ideologically opposed to IMN told them or what their armchair consultants posited without empirical evidence. Bringing in reports of Galtimari and Sheikh Lemu here was to add effects to the fairytale.

It is also stated that “The Federal Government Agencies should respond positively to requests for information by Commissions of Inquiry such as this Commission to enable it make informed decisions or come to a firm findings on issues based on credible data held by them that is not in the public domain”. The Commission had all the powers of a Court of law and refused to use the powers. This is because using the powers will entail making an order for the production of our leader and this they did not want. Clearly this appears to have been the problem with the JCI. They were denied access with the truthful information and consequently they could not make informed decisions or come to firm findings on the matters at stake based on credible data. They had to make do with speculations, rumors, hearsay and street talk. The end result is a shambolic report devoid of substance and full of speculation.

Also stated is that The Security Agencies should ensure ‘watch listing’ of IMN members, and other persons of security interests, whenever they are going out of or coming back into Nigeria with a view to discovering the sources of their funding, foreign contacts and other relevant and useful information”. This we completely reject. Watch listing of IMN members simply because they are IMN members is grossly discriminatory and a violation of their right to privacy, travel and association. This is not acceptable in any form. Even in authoritarian societies, the Courts and the citizens have resisted watch listing and the courts have declared it as unconstitutional. It is surprising that a Judge trained in the fine dictates of the rule of law and due process will preside over a Commission that returned this type of recommendation.

The Commission also recommended that The Federal Government should not ignore the touted boast by the IMN that it has its members all across the security services who feed it with counter intelligence”. The Commission claimed that the IMN boycotted its proceeding. We wonder where the Commission picked this unverified rumor from. These we posit are part of the recommendations submitted to the Commission. Whether it flowed from their findings is therefore immaterial. IMN does not boast of membership in any particular sphere of life distinct from what obtains in the whole of the society. Every member of IMN performs his duties as a member of any profession he/she finds him/herself diligently just like any non-IMN member would. To single out IMN members in any profession and tag them as feeding IMN with counter intelligence is stigmatizing and discriminatory.

There are also some allegations tabled by the JCI against the IMN which are worth debunking as well:
Allegation of cases of violent assaults and murder by the IMN. When we pointed out that JCI was a commission of indictment and not of Inquiry, few people believed us. When in the wake of the brutal assault against IMN a conglomerate of groups opposed to IMN led by Dr. Datti Ahmed, the President of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria met in Kaduna with the JCI Secretary in attendance, spurious allegations were crafted and shared to groups to present to the JCI in order to paint IMN black. The groups were also tasked with formulation of more outrageous allegations against the IMN to present to the JCI. The Secretary of JCI had told them the bigger (the lie), the better. Dr. Datti told them this was their chance and they must utilize it. With assurances from JCI that whatever they brought forward would be stamped without any check, they did not disappoint.

They did just as required of them. Fictitious cases were therefore crafted and presented at the hearing. JCI has also kept its own side of the bargain. It is reporting cases of violent assaults and murder by the IMN without being specific. In the course of the open hearing and in their report as well, the case of the murder of one Umar Danmaishiya in Sokoto was ascribed to IMN for instance. The facts of the case however are as follows: On the 18th day of July 2007 a person named Umar Danmaishiyya was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Sokoto State of Nigeria. The deceased was a prominent and outspoken Salafi critic of the IMN. The following day, a combined team of the Nigerian Army and the Mobile Police force launched a massive and unprovoked attack on IMN members in Sokoto. Several members of the IMN were killed, maimed or arrested and tried for the murder. Members of the IMN in Sokoto were cleared of all charges against them including that of murder of Umar Danmaishiyya, and were discharged and acquitted (See judgment in suit No. SS/7C/2008). The case went up to the Court of Appeal. IMN awaits the full payment of all compensation in that case awarded by the courts against the Sokoto state government. As a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, one would have expected a detailed fact check on specifics of such alleged violent case and murder before basing the report of a Judicial Commission on hearsay and street talk. However, since the goal of those that set it up is blackmail and mischief, those were not necessary. It would suffice to label the IMN as violent and murderous. They imagined that with proscription of the IMN in the horizon, none would bother going beyond the label.

Allegations of kidnapping of young boys by the IMN for its leader. This is one of the biggest of these spurious allegations that they deliberately decided to make as a standalone allegation for effect. Like the others, no specifics were given. Which young boys were kidnapped, where are the parents of the young boys, who actually did the kidnapping, where and when these kidnaps took place and what does the leader of the IMN do with the kidnapped boys? At that rate, isnt it miraculous that they did not say the Chibok girls were kidnapped by the IMN for the IMN leader as well?

Allegations of forming a parallel authority by the IMN. This is a time-long allegation. It was one that even President, Muhammadu Buhari mentioned with so much disgust and animosity during his maiden media chat. He repeated the same as reason why his government had to clamp down violently on the IMN while fielding questions on a foreign TV news channel in Qatar. It was also the clearest indication that the President was not only briefed about the clampdown, he sanctioned and ordered it. The governor similarly leveled the same allegation during his state broadcast on the incident when he said: “Government also received reports that the Islamic Movement of Nigeria acted like a parallel state, with total disdain for the formal structures of the Nigerian government. It was the same song all over. The President would not wait for the findings to sing it. The governor similarly sang it in the state broadcast. Even the Defence Minister chanted the same song while answering questions from American news channel. So many Wahabi/Izala/Salafi leaders as well as traditional, community and other leaders with too much hurt in their hearts parroted the same singsong in their hate messages fed to the JCI. This allegation became of such importance to the JCI that it is repeated in several paragraphs of the report. Evidence however will suggest otherwise. Firstly, neither Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky nor any of the members of the IMN has ever renounced his citizenship of Nigeria. IMN members hold Nigerian Passports and hold stake as bonafide citizens. IMN has not claimed any part of the country as its own territory. It does not have its own anthem, flag or currency. Secondly, many members of the IMN are tax payers in various ways at various places of work or commercial activities. Thirdly, several of IMN-owned groups or associations such as the Shuhada Foundation, ISMA Medical Care Initiatives, Almizan newspaper and many more are registered with relevant Nigerian regulatory bodies. Furthermore, the IMN always resorted to courts and Nigerian legal system to seek redress whenever they felt aggrieved. IMN has written petitions to places as high as even to the office of the President of the federation and to virtually all other relevant offices in the formal structures of the Nigerian government. Clearly, all these do not suggest a parallel state with total disdain for formal structures. However, JCIs blind prejudice is borne out of baseless official stereotype.

Allegation of use of excessive and disproportionate force by the NA against poorly and crudely armed members of the IMN leading massacre of hundreds. Even this obvious admission of guilt by the government would not go without taking an unjustified swipe at the IMN. The JCI has admitted that a massacre indeed took place. “The high number of casualties cannot be justified” (Page 85). They also admitted that Nigerian Army carried out the massacre. “The actions of troops of the Nigerian Army were also found to be contrary to Rules of Proportionality by International Standards.” (Page 76 of the report) and they also stated that it did appear that the Nigerian Army did not adhere strictly to the provisions of its Rules of Engagement and the Code of Ethics during the operation.” We all know that the use of excessive force by the military is simply engraved in their DNA it seems. Recently, a High Court Judge, while delivering his ruling, stated that the Nigerian army and other security agencies must learn to discharge their duties in accordance with the law. “The respondents (EFCC and Nigerian army) have not behaved as if they live in a civilised society. They behaved like we are still in the military era,” the judge said. “They must learn to behave themselves and act within the basic provisions of the law.”

Not only was disproportionate force employed in the brutal attack of December 2015 in Zaria, it was clear the military went for the kill. That was not the first time that the Military was attempting to assassinate Sheikh Zakzaky. In fact, he has escaped many assassination attempts, siege or ambush by the Nigerian security operatives or their agents. Newspaper reports are replete with these instances over time. In 2009, the Shaikh openly declared that the government was after his life and they had planned to bomb his house and afterwards commit massacre. Ever since then, the military had carried out several attempts at Sheikh Zakzaky’s life, and on at least two of such occasions, shots were actually fired at the convoy of Sheikh

Zakzaky. In July 2015, soldiers laid ambush on his convoy on its way to Abuja. About 10 weeks before the December 2015 massacre was carried out, Shaikh once again exposed the plan for the massacre in exactly the way it was eventually executed in December 2015. Thus, the foundation for the massacre was long laid and it never abated. Clearly, it was pre-planned, and it took years to plot and execute. What is baffling is how JCI can clearly identify the use of excessive force by the military, stated in their report under Constitutional Responsibilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria that Section 217 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) mandates the Armed Forces of Nigeria with among others suppressing, insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, and yet be silent on this glaring violation. It therefore shied away from making recommendations on what is to be done with those that ultimately gave the orders.

Allegation of importation and stockpiling of weapons by the IMN through the agency of some Lebanese resident in Nigeria and Nigerian nationals among the IMN. This again is yet another baseless allegation that is not backed by facts. Once again, no specifics were given. We were told that this particular allegation was what informed the Military cordon and search operations in various places including inside graves. JCI had stated earlier on page 52 of their report that “The cordon and search however did not reveal significant quantities of weapons found. The assumption that the IMN in Zaria was heavily armed was not verified”. Yet, they retain this allegation simply because they want to justify the original reason for the clampdown by all means. They are quick in pointing out a widely publicised incident of alleged arms importation and stockpiling said to have been uncovered by DSS in Kano by some Lebanese in 2013. The government through the DSS had tried hard to link the IMN with that to no avail. When the courts finally freed the accused, the matter was not similarly much publicised. This is what they appear to showcase as importation and stockpiling of weapons by the IMN through some Lebanese and IMN members. As a judicial commission of inquiry, it would have been expected that they would have conducted a thorough inquiry into these allegations. Had they done that, they would not have failed to realise that this matter had been taken to court of law in Nigeria, with the accused discharged by the courts as reported in the Nigerian dailies. (See Vanguard, November 30, 2013). IMN was never part of that case or any other case whatsoever to do with importation and stockpiling of weapons.

On the final note, JCI actually stated the reason why the commission was set up in the first place when it stated on page 165, point 12.3.1 (ii) that without any hesitance, government must demonstrate the necessary political will to proscribe the existing IMN as an unregistered and unlawful association This we categorically reject. We are not an association or an organization with motto, symbol, aims/objectives, political officers (National, local or state) with an organogram (even though JCI sarcastically drew one) or any of such things that associations are known and characterized. Is there any registration that anyone believing in a faith (say Islam or Christianity) is mandated to do by any law in Nigeria? Is there any law that prohibits one, singly or with like-minded persons, from practicing his faith the way and manner he understands it at the times prescribed by that his faith? This was the very basis of the whole massacre. It is a shame that a Justice of the Court of Appeal that is fully aware that the Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom of association will make such an unconstitutional recommendation. We make bold to state that no Judicial Commission of inquiry can abrogate or abridge the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens. We enjoy the rights by virtue of our common humanity and it was never donated to us by any government. Of course the Commission did not recommend the proscription of nebulous groups such as the one called the Gyallesu Community because the Commission relied heavily on their submission for its recommendations.

Overall, it seems fairly obvious that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) was a typical commission with a pre-determined mandate and report. Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) had pointed out this right from the outset. Inclusion of some members known to be fanatical arch-enemies of IMN as manifested in their utterances, actions and writings pointed to this fact. That stripped the JCI of any credibility and impartiality and this can now be clearly seen in their report and recommendations. It makes it look more like an Indictment Commission rather than an Inquiry Commission.

Consequently we reject the report and its recommendations based on the points highlighted earlier. However if the Federal government and Kaduna state government are sincere in their claim that they will do justice on what happened on 12-14 December, 2015, they should as a matter of urgency release our abducted leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and others held with him, after languishing in the gulag for the past eight months. Taking this step will show to the world their intent in seeing a peaceful end to the Zaria massacre by the Nigerian Army.

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