2 November 2018

Nigeria: Shiites - Govt, Please Let's Not Breed Another Boko Haram

Photo: Islamic Movement of Nigeria
Shiite members wounded in the clash.

The federal capital territory was under siege during the week. Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were everywhere observing their annual walk and at the same time protesting the continued detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakky. As usual, the walk turned violent when they ran into a military convoy along Zuba road.

Depending on the side you choose to believe, the military said the members were trying to steal their weapons, while the shitte members claim the military started the provocation.

Abuja, which is regarded as one of the safest cities in Nigeria was held hostage in the last few days by the shitte members. The high handedness of our security agencies towards the protesters is bearing an uncanny semblance to the way our security forces handled the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf.

When I saw the military using live bullets, I knew we are heading for serious trouble in this country.

If you recall, the Boko Haram sect was a little known group in the North East preaching their own brand of Islam. The extra judicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf led to radicalise action of the group. What's the end result of that -the economy of the North has been dragged back to the stone ages. We have lost over a 100, 000 persons to insurgency, schools and hospitals destroyed and millions displaced from their homes.

Our security forces are following the same path with the Shittes group. It's like they are not trained to handle protests. What happened to rubber bullets, hot water sprays and tear gas to disperse unruly protesters? We need to do away with always inviting the military to quell civil unrest; that's the primary duty of the police. The country is so militarised that the Armed Forces are carrying out operations in almost every state in the country.

At the same time, the Shitte group should stop attacking our security forces, as that is an invitation to anarchy. Nobody has the right to attack or try to disarm a soldier or policeman. The resort to self-help by the group will only aggravate the situation.

I have also been contending on this page that the federal government should release el-Zakzaky. Since the court had previously granted him bail, he should just be released. President Muhammadu Buhari's assertion that national security should take precedence over the rule of law does not conform here.

The government should release him on bail immediately and let his trial run its course. The continuous detention of the Shitte leader is radicalising the group the more. They will continue to protest and more lives will be lost and at the end of the day, we will not achieve anything. If he dies in detention, we will have another Boko Haram in our arms. We cannot afford another insurgent group right now.

Kaduna Riots: Not Again

The federal capital territory was under siege during the week. Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were everywhere observing their annual walk and at the same time protesting the continued detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakky. As usual, the walk turned violent when they ran into a military convoy along Zuba road.

Depending on the side you choose to believe, the military said the members were trying to steal their weapons, while the shitte members claim the military started the provocation.

Abuja, which is regarded as one of the safest cities in Nigeria was held hostage in the last few days by the shitte members. The high handedness of our security agencies towards the protesters is bearing an uncanny semblance to the way our security forces handled the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf.

When I saw the military using live bullets, I knew we are heading for serious trouble in this country.

If you recall, the Boko Haram sect was a little known group in the North East preaching their own brand of Islam. The extra judicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf led to radicalise action of the group. What's the end result of that -the economy of the North has been dragged back to the stone ages. We have lost over a 100, 000 persons to insurgency, schools and hospitals destroyed and millions displaced from their homes.

Our security forces are following the same path with the Shittes group. It's like they are not trained to handle protests. What happened to rubber bullets, hot water sprays and tear gas to disperse unruly protesters? We need to do away with always inviting the military to quell civil unrest; that's the primary duty of the police. The country is so militarised that the Armed Forces are carrying out operations in almost every state in the country.

At the same time, the Shitte group should stop attacking our security forces, as that is an invitation to anarchy. Nobody has the right to attack or try to disarm a soldier or policeman. The resort to self-help by the group will only aggravate the situation.

I have also been contending on this page that the federal government should release el-Zakzaky. Since the court had previously granted him bail, he should just be released. President Muhammadu Buhari's assertion that national security should take precedence over the rule of law does not conform here.

The government should release him on bail immediately and let his trial run its course. The continuous detention of the Shitte leader is radicalising the group the more. They will continue to protest and more lives will be lost and at the end of the day, we will not achieve anything. If he dies in detention, we will have another Boko Haram in our arms. We cannot afford another insurgent group right now.

On Afenifere's Suspension Of Omisore

On Tuesday, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, announced the suspension of the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the last governorship election in Osun State and member of the group, Senator Iyiola Omisore, for one year.

Omisore was alleged to have aligned with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the run-off election in the Ife South and North local government areas of Osun State. His action was said to have gone against the position of his party, the Social Democratic Party, and the Afenifere.

When I read the suspension, I had a good laugh. I thought Afenifere was a pan Yoruba group whose mandate is to protect the Yoruba race. The group openly aligning with another party is a recipe for disaster. There are Yoruba people playing prominent roles in all the political parties. Acting as if it is a branch of the PDP is not good for the image of the organisation. The group should know that all Nigerian politicians put their interest first before national interest. You will not blame Omisore for going to where his bread will be buttered.

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