The House of Representatives was forced to adjourn plenary on Wednesday April 24, 2019 as some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) broke into the premises of the National Assembly (NASS) forcing federal lawmakers to adjourn plenary. IMN members forced their way into the premises because the leader of the group, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, has been in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) since December 2015.
That is four years in detention. What can possibly be the reason for this lengthy detention? Is this another case of Mr. Buhari’s government acting as both the judge and jury in affairs of the nation? What about Nigerian citizen’s right to a fair and speedy trial?
Mr. Zakzaky has now served four years of prison without trial. Per Nigerian constitution, a person is considered innocent until proved guilty in a competent court of law with jurisdiction. This proof has not even been presented talk less of proven. If the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria are restless, who can blame them?
Edmund Burke (1729-97) is quoted as saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Readers please note that Mr. Burke places the burden on good men (persons). Mr. Zakzaky’s four year imprisonment without trial makes one wonder if there are any good persons in Nigeria and the world. Why are we not shouting to high havens for justice?
President Buhari has this unwelcome habit of not letting good enough stay its course. Nnamdi Kanu was caught with a broadcasting equipment and imprisoned for years until a court granted him bail. PMB followed him to his village in the guise of Operation Python and Dances with Wolves and massacred over 20 people around him. He was “lucky” to escape. Mr. Zakzaky has been imprisoned for four years without trial and he serving an indefinite jail time for unknown offences. Zakzaky is the leader of the Shiite religious group.
Where are the Sunnis of Nigeria? Where are the Christians? Where are the Jewish Faith of Nigeria? Where are the defenders of human rights? Democracy defenders? Where is everybody?
I want to paraphrase Rev. Martin Niemöller (1893-1984)”
1. First they came for looters and I did not speak out – because I was not a looter.
2. Then they came for PDP and I did not speak out – because I have joined APC and was not a PDP
3. Then they came for Nnamdi Kanu, and I did not speak out- because I was not Nnamdi Kanu
4. Then they came for Biafrans, and I did not speak out because – I was not a Biafran.
5. Then they came for Zakzaky and Shiites, I did not speak out because – I was not a Shiite.
6. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
If we wait long enough, President Buhari will eventually get to us. The best time to stop this tyranny is now. WE must not let the Shiite/Sunni war get to Nigeria.
We must recognize the religious and free association clauses embodied in the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 as amended.
Zakzaky must be freed.
*** Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba wrote from Boston, Massachusetts.