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Nigerians remember 1,000 Shiites murdered by Nigerian Army, dishonoured by Buhari

  • Politics

Many Nigerians have taken to social media to remember the 1,000 Shiites murdered by the Nigerian Army seven years ago. There has been no report of justice exacted upon the perpetrators of the massacre under the Muhammadu Buhari regime, an inaction considered a dishonour to the memories of the deceased Shiites faithful.

Hundreds of Shiites marching in a procession in Zaria, Kaduna state were fired at by officers of the Nigerian Army, who claimed the life of then army chief, Tukur Buratai, was being threatened.

The Shiites Muslim sect had blocked the roads to conduct the procession and reportedly denied passage to the army chief on an official visit to the passing out parade of the 73 Regular Recruits Intake of the Nigerian Army Depot in Kaduna state.

“They started throwing dangerous missiles, stones, machete and all kinds of traditional or crude weapons,” Major General Adeniyi Oyebade claimed in a press briefing in 2015.

He asserted that military officers in Mr Buratai’s convoy concluded that he “was under threat, and they had no other option than to force their way through the blockage, including the use of lethal weapons.”

When Mr Buratai eventually arrived at his destination, he shared the encounter with colleagues.

The following day, Mr Oyebade sent in military personnel to apprehend the Shiite leaders at their shrine, escalating the conflict and resulting in an avoidable bloodbath between December 12 and 14, 2015.

Ibrahim Musa, spokesman for the sect had placed the number of fatalities at 1,000, a figure that was downplayed by the army which said seven persons were killed.

Mr Musa accused the military of concealing the actual death toll, alleging soldiers had carried off the corpses to an “unknown destination” for a secret mass burial.

Meanwhile, a judicial panel of enquiry constituted to look into the matter by the Kaduna State government, recommended the prosecution of Mr Oyebade, found guilty of authorising the massacre which killed at least 347 Shiites.

Since the incident happened seven years ago, Mr Buhari has yet to use his position as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) to bring justice to the perpetrators

He suggested the victims may have provoked the wrath of the soldiers with their actions.

“How can any group create a state within a state? …Putting roadblocks, banning vehicles and pelting them with missiles,” Mr Buhari asserted in an interview on Channels TV.

The extrajudicial killings were grossly condemned by both local and international rights groups which described the action of the military as an overkill.

The recommendation of the panel of enquiry went unheeded leaving the perpetrators of the massacre to walk free. 

On Tuesday, Nigerians took to Twitter to remember the dead and remind the Buhari regime of its laxity on visiting justice on the oppressors.

Human rights attorney Chidi Odinkalu, tweeting via @ChidiOdinkalu said: “#OnThisDay in 2015, they began the orchestration of the #ZariaMassacre. By the time they were done 4 yrs later, they had wasted over 1,000 lives. Many of the victims were children crushed in their sleep. #MassMurderers who claim to be politicians – May they never know peace.”

Another activist, @FakhuusHashim wrote on twitter, “Yesterday marked 7 years since one of the gravest atrocities targeted at the Shia community, IMN. No one has paid the price of these crimes against humanity. #ZariaMassacre.

“This is Buhari’s legacy.”

“So today Mark 7yrs since #ZariaMassacre #BuhariMassacre my heart goes to the families of  Shiites & non-shiite that were killed by @MBuhari including those who re struggling with life changing injuries,” tweeted @zinadabo1. “7yrs that seemed like yesterday.

“I demand justice for those killed”

Another tweep, @Galadanci02, said: “It’s been 7 years since the Zaria Massacre. This tragic event test people’s humanity from all angles. You don’t have to be Shiite before you feel the pain of the cruelty in you, you just have to be human. They were killed unjustly, some were buried alive and some were set ablaze.”

“The Zaria massacre was a massacre carried out by the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State on Saturday, 12-12-15 against mostly members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. At least 1000 civilians were killed, with 347 bodies secretly buried by the army in a mass grave @MBuhari💔,” a tweet by @majeed_zamani detailed.