Continuing the model rooted under the regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), the Shiites suffered yet another brutal attack at the hands of security forces during their annual religious procession in the federal capital, Abuja, on Tuesday.
As expected in such attacks, the media reported deaths, while police say they recorded 53 arrests. Police also said a Volkswagen Golf vehicle, flags, Molotov cocktails, weapons, cell phones and charms were recovered as evidence. But the Islamic Movement in Nigeria said eight of its members were killed during the procession to mark the religious ritual of Arbaeen.
It is a heavy price for a civil protest, which is one of the basic human rights expressly guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution in Articles 33 to 40. The police excuse that the Shiites caused suffering to other motorists is weak . It really cannot justify tear gas, stabbing, shootings and killings of people by the security forces. It is an act of state terrorism. To be clear: there is no moral difference between a state agent such as a soldier killing dozens of civilians and this same action perpetrated by a non-state actor.
Tuesday’s attack is not an isolated case. Repeatedly, Nigerian military, police and state security officers engage in brutal human rights violations under Buhari. The origin of the violence on Tuesday dates back to 2015, a few months after Buhari took office and appointed Tukur Buratai chief of staff of the army. That year’s Ashura march, which coincided with Buratai’s tour of Zaria, Kaduna state, ended with a violent clash between the Shiites and the army contingent.
Claiming that members of the sect wanted to assassinate the army chief, the soldiers attacked the demonstrators with rifles, bayonets and grenades for two days. Dozens of Shiites lost their lives, many more were injured and detained. Human Rights Watch said: “It is almost impossible to see how a roadblock erected by angry young men could justify the killing of hundreds of people. At best, it was a brutal overreaction and at worst, it was a planned attack on the Shiite minority group.
A forensic investigation by the Kaduna state government found that 347 Shiites died in the attacks. IMN leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested and charged. Despite several court rulings, the federal government refused to release the detainees until last August. In the meantime, the Shiites have regularly protested against the detention of their leader. Protests usually ended with attacks, shootings and killings by security officers. In 2014, three of Zakzaky’s sons were killed, along with 32 other cult members, in a clash with soldiers during a religious procession in Zaria, HRW added.
In a democracy, this is not fair. A democratic government does not allow the military to oversee internal civilian security, but it has become the practice under Buhari’s watch. The army is in the best position to wage war. Buhari and COAS, Farouk Yahaya, should stop this immediately. In the worst case, the police should be deployed to protect protesters and prevent a breach of law and order. Instead of stemming the IMN’s agitation, the brutal persecution achieves the opposite.
The government’s accusation that the Shiites are violent, outlawed and a terrorist group misses the point. Terrorist groups like Boko Haram and ISWAP do not organize public demonstrations because they are not protected by law. It was not inappropriate that members of the IMN organized demonstrations for the government to release their detained leader.
All of this puts a strain on Buhari’s admission that he is a “born again” Democrat. Now there is overwhelming evidence that he did not pass this test at all, his military record may still be strong, but democracy is synonymous with full freedom of speech, protest and criticism against it. government.
The military’s use against peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos in October 2020 is notable in its reign of tyranny in October 2020. A year later, the military still denies carrying out the bloody shootings on unarmed youth. #EndSARS was the culmination of youth protests against pervasive police brutality and extortion by agents of the disbanded Police Special Anti-Theft Squad. The Buhari regime behaves like other brutal oppressive regimes in Sudan, Belarus, Myanmar and seeks to suppress the democratic right of Nigerians to protest.
Buhari deploys the army incorrectly. Conversely, democratic governments use the military for noble purposes, not against citizens. To alleviate the fuel supply crisis in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson’s administration plans to mobilize the army to replace the drivers of oil tankers from refineries to service stations. It is a good cause.
When Hurricane Eta landed in Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama and Guatemala in November 2020, approximately 250 troops from JTF-Bravo from the United States, Army South, Special Operations Command South and Other teams from the US Southern Command have been deployed to the hardest-hit countries of Central America. zones, saving at least 289 lives and delivering vital supplies to storm-ravaged areas. During the devastating floods in Germany last June, the 52nd U.S. Civil Engineer Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, along with other base volunteers, filled and distributed hundreds of sandbags over two days to help protect homes and businesses in the area, said United Service Organizations, a group of NGOs.
Therefore, the president should end the brutal repression of Shiites by the army and the police. These state atrocities are crimes against humanity and those responsible must be brought to justice.
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