With all sense of objectivity and positivity that characterized ideal minds, we wish to draw the attention of the public as well as the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalist, NUJ, to some of the untrue information contained in the message of tribute by the branch as regards what transpired between the peaceful protesters of the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Security Operatives on Monday July 22, 2019, that led to lost of lives in the Federal Capital City, Abuja.
It is imperative to write this text in order to put the general public in the know of happened and who killed the innocent and active Channels TV reporter, Owolabi Precious during the peaceful protest that was later disrupted by the Policemen, and to equally add to some missing contents in the the tribute message of the Lagos NUJ branch.
Firstly, we will like to review the untrue information made available by the Lagos NUJ branch as follows:
“…The union condemned in strong terms assault on and killing of Nigerian Journalist by any group and the inability of the state apparatus to protect Journalists on their line of duty”.
“We appealed to the Nigerian state to have a critical look at threat to National Security by the IMN group and follow the path of rule of law on their demands as quickly as possible . It is instructive to avoid another potential National Security threat that is capable of metamorphosing into terrorism activity”.
The position of the branch is made clear in the above extract but we have categorically on several occasions distanced ourselves and activities from anything violence and bearing of arms.
We have been oppressed for many years now and we have not turned violence and we shall not. We were not armed on any day of our peaceful protest and that’s why this oppressive government has found it very difficult to charge us with arm offences.
Many sympathizers and Human Right activists have been teargassed and molested by the Policemen in the FCT over time and we still remained peaceful. Few out of many are Professor Chidi Odinkalu, Dr John Danfulani , Area Father (Charley Boy), Adeyenju Deji and others have been teargassed at the Unity Fountain on days they came out with us seeking for for release of our leader.
Before proceeding how ever , it will be in place to take us back to memory lane on the crack down of innocent civilians that happened between December 12th to 14th, 2015 in Zaria.
It is approaching four years today when the once-upon most peaceful town zaria Headquarters of the Islamic movement in Nigeria was thrown into a regrettable and mourning history, consequence of which has continued to cause the deaths of several innocent Nigerians that belong to the Islamic movement.
The Nigerian authorities under general Buhari used the Nigerian Army to attack the Islamic movement. In the attacks over one thousand Nigerians loyal to Sheikh Zakzaky were massacred including women and children.
Sheikh Zakzaky three sons were murdered in cold blood and the Sheikh , together with his wife were shot severally in their home by the soldiers. The Soldiers later dragged them in the blood of their sons and handed them over to DSS .
Since then , they were detained illegally without proper medical attention.
In 2016 ,a Federal High Court in Abuja under Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered for his release and asked the Government to pay Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife the sum of 50Million Naira, and build a house for him in any of the states within the northern region.
Yet,Government violated the court order.
Protest is our constitutional Right but the security operatives keeps on attacking us for protesting peacefully.
Most Nigerians are aware of what happened on the day in question; The protesters started the peaceful protest from NITEL junction and on getting to the Federal Secretariat the Policemen blocked the road and started firing at protesters indiscriminately without minding our composition and they ended up in shooting Owolabi Precious, the Channels TV reporter, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operation in the FCT, 11 of our brothers and sisters were also killed and many others left with bullets injuries.
Of course, the protest was made up of hundreds of persons, including very young children, youths, aged men and women as well as the physically challenged persons. A composition that defines our usual peaceful and armless position since the inception of the Movement and our demand for the release of our illegally detained leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
Additionally, one of the key contents that is missing in the message of the NUJ Lagos branch is the fact that the branch failed to call for independent investigation into the crisis that led to the lost of lives so to ascertain who truly shot the innocent and young journalist and by extension those that shot the DC of Police and the 11 members of the Movement.
We felt that investigation into this matter is very crucial because if investigated, the outcome will not only to feed the public with the right information but will also reveal those responsible for incessant killings of innocent citizens as we have witnessed so far in the FCT.
However, no amount of tributes or condolences can be equated to any life lost but will continue to extend our condolences to the families of Owolabi Precious and the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operation FCT, Abuja that may God Almighty have mercy on the souls of the deceased and grant you all the fortitude to bear this great lost.
On a final note, Nigerians should disregard a message been distributed on social media and text messages by some elements that their is going to be violence /massive protest / attacks against citizens by the Islamic movement members .
Our protest have been peaceful and will always be peaceful. For any violence or destruction of public properties please hold the security operatives responsible.
Media Team Of the Academic Forum Of The Islamic Movement In Nigeria