On the night of 12th December 2015 in the city of Zaria, Kaduna state, Sheik El Zakzaky, the leader of the 10 million-strong Shia muslim community in Nigeria, was shot, brutalized and dumped in a wheelbarrow. He barely escaped with his life but sadly, according to Iranian government sources and the New York Times, his wife, two of his sons and no less than one thousand of his shia muslim followers were not so lucky.
They were massacred in the sanctity of their homes that night by members of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Up until the time that I am writing this essay not one word of regret or remorse has been expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Armed Forces or the Federal Government about the whole incident.
That alone speaks volumes but what is more important to note is the fact that this is one of the most brutal and callous events in the history of our country. It was premeditated, well-planned, well-orchestrated and well-executed. Homes were bombed and burnt to the ground and innocent and defenseless men, women and children were slaughtered in an unrelenting frenzy of violence.
After the carnage the bodies of the victims were left in the compound of the houses and in the streets and gutters for carrion birds to feed on and for street urchins and petty thieves to rob. This was indeed a sordid and shameful chapter: it was not only mass murder but it was also a crime against humanity. Those that were murdered were targeted simply because they were Shia Muslims and simply because, earlier in the day, some of them had mounted a road block which obstructed the convoy of the General Burutai, the Chief of Army Staff.
It is very clear that by this act alone the Chief of Army Staff, under whose orders these men were acting, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, and every single officer and soldier that took part in the massacre are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and are therefore candidates for the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Our leaders must be accountable and it is my fervent prayer and desire that the whole matter ends up their and that both Buhari and Burutai are called to justice.
What makes the whole matter worse is the fact that there was no mention of the episode on BBC television or CNN and there was no sense of outrage in our country about what these people had been subjected to. One wonders what happened to our sense of decency and our ability to empathize with those that are suffering and that have been subjected to injustice? What happened to our sense of responsibility, our sensitivity and our compassion? Yet it doesn’t stop there.
Two days before the tragic events in Zaria a man was granted bail by two separate courts in two separate criminal matters in Lagos. However the minute he stepped out of the court premises he was confronted and apprehended by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), violently manhandled, dragged off the streets, bundled into a waiting van, given the beating of his life and whisked away to an unknown destination.
According to our constitution this man is presumed innocent until proven guilty and up until now he has not been found guilty of any crime. Worse still the operatives did not have an arrest warrant and what they did was manifestly unlawful. Yet despite that, again there is no sense of outrage in our country about the treatment that this man was subjected to. Again it doesn’t stop there.
Approximately one month ago a man was granted bail and given permission to travel out of the country by the Federal High Court for medical treatment. Yet as he proceeded to do so he discovered that the Department of State Security (DSS) had laid siege to his home. They refused to let him step out of the gate, they traumatized his family and they criminalised and demonised him in the national and international media.
After a month of confining him to his home they eventually stormed his house, overwhelmed his security men, roughed him up, dragged him out feet first, threw him in a waiting car, abducted him and carried him away to an unknown destination. All this happened in violation of an order of the Federal High Court and despite the fact that he had not been found guilty of any crime by any court in the land yet there is no sense of outrage in our country.
Again it doesn’t stop there. A man obtains a court order that the Department of State Security (DSS) must not under any circumstances enter his home yet they ignore that order, force their way into his house, shoot bullets everywhere, terrorize and manhandle his children, beat up his wife and ”bite” her like a dog, throw their belongings into the streets and finally violently evict him and his family from the premises and into the streets and there is no sense of outrage in our country. Again it doesn’t stop there.
A man is arrested by the EFCC, he is maligned and convicted in the media by what are, more often than not, false allegations and spurious confessions that are skillfully leaked to the press by his tormentors and captors.
After days in detention he is eventually charged and arraigned before THREE separate courts for virtually the same offences all in an attempt to break, humiliate and shame him. He is subjected to all this despite the fact that he is deemed innocent until proven guilty yet there is no sense of outrage in the country over the matter. Again it doesn’t stop there.
A man is arrested and detained by the Department of State Security simply because he expresses his desire for the establishment of a new nation called Biafra. He is kept in solitary confinement and denied access to his lawyer and family members for weeks on end. His lawyer goes to court and the court grants him bail and directs that he should be released on reasonable terms and conditions. All those terms and conditions are met but instead of abiding by the court order and releasing him the DSS keeps him in detention for a further three months.
After the three months have expired they take him to a different court and apply to keep him in detention for yet another three months. The new court declines to grant that order and instead directs that he should be released unconditionally and with immediate effect. On hearing about the order of the court the supporters of the young man went to the streets in many cities in eastern Nigeria and started celebrating and jubilating.
This did not go down well with President Buhari’s security agencies and consequently they shot dead five of the man’s young supporters in Onitsha simply for jubilating, singing solidarity songs and dancing in the streets.
Meanwhile DSS have refused to abide by the court order and up until the time that I am writing this essay the man has not been released and he remains in their custody. All this has happened to this man and his followers yet there is no sense of outrage in the country about what they have been subjected to.
When one considers all these events one is at a loss for words. Is this really a democracy? I have come to the conclusion that this is a government of sadists, run by sadists and for sadists. Not only do they place no stock or value on the sanctity of human life but they also relish in their impunity and their lack of respect for the rule of law.
They are cowardly, wicked, malicious, petty, insensitive, vicious and, worse of all, manifestly incompetent. They are a government of liars, run by liars and for liars. They malign the weak, harass the defenseless, torment the poor and punish the innocent but God will see their end. They are soft on Boko Haram whilst they murder shia muslims, christians, Biafrans, the young, the old, the weak and the vulnerable.
They defy court orders and mock the judiciary. They abuse power and defy the word of God. They rejoice when others suffer and they take pleasure in the misfortune of their adversaries. Instead of being just and true they are perverse in all their ways. Instead of seeking peace, moving the country forward and facing the business of governance they have chosen to tread the path of destruction, persecution, discord, strife, witch hunts, lies, demonization and war. In a futile attempt to distract the world from their own failures they seek to inculcate and establish an atmosphere of fear and intimidation and thereby silence their perceived enemies and detractors.
Yet no matter how many people they incriminate, criminalise, malign, humiliate, misrepresent, beat and lock up, no matter how many people they kill, no matter how many people they abduct and throw out of their homes, the fact remains that the the country is still falling apart and our economy is still going to the dogs.
No matter what lies they tell and no matter what entertainment and palliatives they feed us with to keep us grinning and distracted, the value of the naira is still at its lowest in its 42 years of existence, the security situation is still terrible, Boko Haram is still waxing stronger, the morale of our soldiers is still getting lower, the price of food is still rocketing, the fuel queues still persist and poverty and hardship pervades the land like never before.
The Buhari administration is indulging in wickedness and the abuse of power, violating the civil liberties and human rights of its own citizens, murdering its own people , dividing the country, witchunting and intimidating its perceived enemies, making a mockery of justice and the fight against corruption, rejecting peace and all that is wholesome and true and, like the biblical Pharoah, they are provoking the wrath of the Lord and playing with fire. As He did with Pharaoh, Nebudchadnezzar, Jezebel and Sennacherub God will surely break them and bring them down.
He will avenge the dead, He will vindicate the innocent and falsely accused, He will prove Himself mighty in battle and He will grant them no mercy. Shame and woe be unto all those that have chosen to dine with the devil by joining and supporting this government. The bible says there is no peace for the wicked. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. There is no agreement between good and evil. There is no commonality of purpose between the just and the perverse.
There is no accord between the compassionate and the heartless. There is no bond between the kind and the wicked. I would rather die than join or support a government of heartless men and closet fundamentalists. I have no doubt that by the time this is all over the Nigerian people will regret the choice that they made earlier this year and they will beg for a true democrat and peace-loving man to be elected into office. Like the proverbial frog that is slowly being boiled in water but that does not even feel it,our people are being taken for a ride by the Buhari administration.
To distract them from his governments’ monumental failures the President feeds them with a daily dose of lies, falsehood and sensational and unsubstantiated allegations about the so-called corruption of key players in the previous administration. Sadly the people lap it up with joy and accept the tales they are being told without question, reason or exception. They forget that allegations are a dime a dozen and that trial by media does not often result in a conviction in a diligent and responsible court of law.
Meanwhile as this obscene circus show of branding everyone but himself as a crook and feeding the innocents to the lions continuous, President Buhari is destroying the lives of the people, ruining the economy,crushing his opponents, silencing his detractors, discrediting his adversaries and dividing our nation. He is also breaking the spirit of our country and turning us into a laughing stock before the international community.
The bottom line is this: Nigeria has been transformed into a gestapo-like police state where state-sponsored lies and propaganda hold sway and where fear, coercion, blackmail and intimidation is the primary tool of governance.
May God grant us the courage to take back our country and may the forces of light, truth and justice prevail in our land.
Written and compiled by Femi Fani-Kayode.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.