PRESS RELEASE

IMN Responds To Govt White Paper On Zaria Clash Inquiry

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON THE RELEASE OF THE WHITE PAPER ON THE REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE “CLASHES” BETWEEN THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA (IMN) AND THE NIGERIAN ARMY (NA) IN ZARIA, KADUNA STATE BETWEEN SATURDAY 12TH AND MONDAY 14TH DECEMBER, 2015

On the 5th day of December 2016, the Kaduna State Government Released the Report of its Judicial Commission of Inquiry into what it called the “clashes” between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State between Saturday 12th and Monday 14th December, 2015.

In this preliminary response, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria rejects in its entirety the contents of the said White Paper and will issue a fuller report on the reasons for the rejection. We reject the said White paper for the following reasons.

The Kaduna State Government released the Report of its Judicial Commission of Inquiry into what it called the “clashes” between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State between Saturday 12th and Monday 14th December, 2015 on the 5th day of December, 2016 and backdated the said report to the month of August 2016. This is to give retroactive justification to its hostile actions against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria since the 12th day of December 2015.

On the 7th day of October, 2016 the Kaduna State Government without releasing the White Paper on the report of the said Judicial Commission of Inquiry purportedly banned the Islamic Movement in Nigeria relying on the same report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry which it set up in January 2016 and whose report it released on the 5th day of December 2016.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria rejected the composition of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, its terms of reference and the refusal of the Commission to compel the Department of State Services (DSS) to release our leader to represent the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and to attend the sittings of the Commission and consequently boycotted the sittings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

The purported release of the White Paper is a belated and malicious response to the Judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja delivered on Friday, the 2nd day of December 2016 wherein the Hon. Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered the release of our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky within a period of 45 days from the date of judgment, the building of a new house for him and his family and the payment of N50million compensation for the unconstitutional and illegal detention of his wife and himself since the 14th day of December 2016.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is fully aware of and abreast of the State sponsored demonstrations against the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja delivered on the 2nd day of December 2016 and regards the sponsors of the demonstrations as purveyors of anarchy and violence.

It is clear to us that the Governor of Kaduna State is a threat to national security and the peace and stability of Kaduna State and Nigeria. Thus, the National Assembly, the Nigerian people and the International Community must call him to order before he succeeds in leading Kaduna State and albeit Nigeria into an avoidable religious crisis and conflict.

We are convinced that the Governor of Kaduna State is bent on creating an atmosphere of fear, anxiety and violence in Kaduna State for reasons that are unclear through his messianic approach to governance.

It is also clear to us that the Governor of Kaduna State is angry that the Federal High Court Abuja did not order the indefinite detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and his wife and it is also clear that he is angry that his Judicial Commission of inquiry did not strictly follow the script given to them by returning completely the pre-determined conclusion and verdict.

We are convinced that the Chairman and some members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry will be regretting their participation in a Commission that was programed to work from a predetermined conclusion but which found itself overwhelmed by the evidence of state sponsored genocide against the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

From our preliminary analysis of the so called retroactive White Paper, the Kaduna State Government rejected 99% of the Core recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and only accepted the ones that suggested the unconstitutional restriction of the activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the continuation of hostile activities towards its properties.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is scandalized that the Kaduna State Government decided to reject the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry even in relation to matters that are not within its constitutional and legal competence. It is also unfortunate that the Kaduna State Government, without any shred of evidence and in contemptuous disregard of the constitution and Nigeria’s international obligations rejected some of the core findings and conclusions of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

This becomes more shameful as the Kaduna State Government handpicked the members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. The Government appointed two Senior Advocates of Nigeria as Counsel to the Commission and the Kaduna State Government was represented by a private Legal Practitioner throughout the sitting of the Commission. Top officials of the Kaduna State Government also gave evidence during the sittings of the Commission.

The Kaduna State Government had the opportunity to present whatever evidence it had during the sitting of the Judicial Commission but has sought through the White Paper to smuggle in some of its predetermined conclusions that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry forgot to include in its findings and recommendations

It is scandalous that the Kaduna State Government in its messianic approach to governance rejected the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that found as a fact that there was no evidence of any form of delegation of authority to any of the officers that carried out the genocide in Zaria when it claimed the existence of a subsisting internal security arrangement in Kaduna State.

It is shameful that a government elected on the basis of the rule of law and due process will without any iota of evidence insist that the leaders and the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria should be held to account for non-existent crimes committed in the last 30 years when no concrete evidence was presented to the so called judicial commission of inquiry to authenticate the so called crimes.

While the Kaduna State Government allegedly declared the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as an ‘unlawful society’ on the basis of the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, it forgot that it had not issued a White Paper on same, and this is why in paragraph 8.4.3 of the said White Paper, it stated that “Government Notes the recommendation but observes that the IMN has been declared as an unlawful society under Section 97 Á’&’B’ of the Penal Code of Kaduna State”

It is even more scandalous that the so called refusal of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to recognize the legitimacy of the Nigerian government was derived from a commissioned paper by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. It baffles the Islamic Movement in Nigeria that a Justice of the Court of Appeal will rely on a commissioned paper to arrive at such weighty conclusion on the so called rejection by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to accept the legitimacy of the Nigerian Government. The said findings and its acceptance by the Kaduna State Government flies in the face of the available evidence and facts and shows that it is the government that has refused to accord the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria their constitutional rights as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

It is shameful that the Kaduna State Government would label the Islamic Movement in Nigeria an ‘insurgent’ group when they have not taken up arms against the country even in the face of extreme provocation and persecution by the government. It is also not surprising that the Kaduna State Government will label the Islamic Movement in Nigeria an insurgent group that must be demonized as it needs to fight the Movement to shore up its non-performance in terms of governance. It is clear that the IMN is the victim in the operations carried out by the Military and reinforced by the Kaduna State Government

It is also scandalous that the Kaduna State Government adopted the attitude of muted trumpet and turned a blind eye to the finding by its own Judicial Commission of Inquiry that reported that the widely held belief that the Islamic Movement was stockpiling weapons was not substantiated. It is reprehensible that the Kaduna State Government rejected the recommendation of its Judicial Commission of Inquiry that directed that all future cordon and search operations must be filmed for purposes of transparency. It is clear that the government is still bent on using the instrumentality of the military to carry out unconstitutional and illegal hostile acts against the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is aware of the fact that the Kaduna State Government is engaged in cover up of the atrocities committed in Zaria between the 12th and 14th of December 2015. While the Government wasted no time in arresting and prosecuting over 300 members of the IMN for various alleged ‘offences’ including culpable homicide punishable with death, it claimed in its White Paper that it will conduct further investigation to determine the culpability of members of the armed forces that engaged in genocide in Zaria, and that they will first face a secret Court Martial before the Kaduna State Government will make up its mind on whether to prosecute them. We dare say that the names of all the officers that authorized the genocide in Zaria are with the Kaduna State Government and the issue of conducting further investigation is tales by moonlight.

While the Judicial Commission of Inquiry found as a fact that the Military did not observe the rules of engagement in the killing of the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, the Kaduna State Government went into an unnecessary monologue to exonerate the army and affirm that the Army observed the rules of engagement. This is against the fact that the Nigerian Army and its officers were represented by a Senior Counsel throughout the sittings of the Commission.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is not surprised that the Kaduna State Government labeled the Islamic Movement in Nigeria an insurgent group. This is because the Kaduna State Government must demonize the Movement to shore up its non performance in terms of governance. It is clear that the IMN is the victim in the operations carried out by the Military and reinforced by the Kaduna State Government.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry found as a fact that the Kaduna State Government breached extant laws and Islamic Injunctions in burying the 347 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in a mass grave and yet the Kaduna State Government without showing any form of remorse sought to justify the said burial. It is clear that the Kaduna State Government was an active participant in the events in Zaria and this is further reinforced in its hostile activities against structures of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria since then.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria regards it as a hostile act the quick acceptance by the Kaduna State Government for the prosecution of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria for alleged acts committed in the last 30 years. The leader of the Movement is a law abiding citizen, who was previously commended by past administrations in Kaduna State for his peaceful disposition to conflicts and issues of governance. The current government has held him in captivity for one year now without charges. While the Kaduna State Government quickly accepted this recommendation, it buried its head in the mud in accepting the recommendation for the prosecution of those that murdered innocent members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. By rushing out with a White Paper a few days after the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja shows clearly that the Kaduna State Government is afraid that it will be held to account for the atrocities committed against members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

While the Kaduna State Governments Judicial Commission of Inquiry found as a fact that “the demolitions by the State officials of the Gyallesu residence of Sheikh Zakzaky, the Hussainiyya Shrine, the facilities at Dambo Darul Rahma do not appear to be wholly conducted after following due process. The demolition of the premises at the Jushi cemetery where Sheikh Zakzaky’s mother and sister were buried and the destruction of the Fudiyya did not appear to be justified” yet the Kaduna State Government shamefully rejected this on the ground that the debris at the H u s s a i n i y y ah Baqiyatullah, the residence of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky (Leader of IMN) were removed on grounds of public health and safety. They shamelessly kept mute on demolition of the premises at the Jushi cemetery where Sheikh Zakzaky’s mother and sister were buried and the destruction of the Fudiyyah Islamic centre, where there was no debris at all

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria implores all well meaning Nigerians to call the Governor of Kaduna State to order. His sole mission is to engineer a justification for further hostile action against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leaders.

In the meantime, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is in consultation with its Legal Team on the next line of action and will issue a fuller after completing these consultations.

Signed
Sheikh AbdulHamid Bello
Islamic Movement in Nigeria
09/12/16

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