By Abdulmumin Giwa
Unfolding events in Nigeria have worsened the way the public view the dispensation of justice by the Nigerian government. The APC led government under President Muhammadu Buhari is seen to be unfair and unjust to a lot of Nigerians based on positions it is taking against them.
The most recent incident is that of the support and backing it gave to its Minister of Communication Dr. Isah Pantami who has been said to have in the past abetted terrorism in his preachments and religious activities. He also never denied it but claimed that he was young with low awareness and therefore apologised for his misdoings now that he is a minister.
More so, the Nigerian government never denied that he abetted terrorism, but put it to the public that he had changed stance thereby placing its full weight behind him.
Some of the things Sheikh Pantami had preached before becoming a minister included supporting known terrorist organizations Alqaeda, Boko Haram and Taliban and even claiming alliance. He described them as his brothers. He even confirmed that some young people have dropped out of school and joined the terror groups as a result, but he was able to call some to order.
He had also preached against Christians and called on Muslim leaders to declare Jihad to fight them for killing Muslims in Yelwan Shandam, Langtan and other places. What is worse is his position on other Muslims like the Shi’a and Tariqah who he sees more as infidels. In fact this position had drawn him closer to the Saudi regime and its activities of spreading hate among Muslim denominations.
All these speeches and preachings he did are easily accessible on social media especially YouTube.
Also, he had never for once came out to declare to the world that he had withdrawn from such terror abetting and promotion of religious conflicts among Nigerians until the issue recently came up and what happened forced him to make the declaration.
The Nigerian government under president Buhari defended and backed him on this telling the world that he will continue as Minister.
This is the same government that has sent the Nigerian Army troops to clampdown on another religious scholar, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his followers, in their centres in Zaria, Kaduna state for no crime other than belonging to the Shi’a denomination of Islam.
The Shi’a are announced by the government to be influenced by Iran while the government is also hypothetically having diplomatic relations with Iran. The President Muhammadu Buhari even visited the Shi’a leader Ayatullah Sayyid Khamenei in Iran in one of his several travels abroad and was given red carpet reception.
The unarmed Shi’a were butchered by the Buhari government thereby killing men, women and innocent children some burned to death and others buried alive in mass graves along with dead bodies. The Kaduna state government under Governor Nasiru Elrufai confirmed to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up to look into the massacre that they buried 347 in a mass grave in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Peaceful protests have been attacked by the Nigerian government and hundreds are still being killed for calling for the release of their religious leader.
It is still in memory that Sheikh Zakzaky was at his residence with his family in December 2015 when he was attacked and three of his sons were brutally killed, his wife shot in the tommy, he was shot in the eye and limb, his elder sister and nephew were both burned alive by the Nigerian army during the attack. The residence of Shaikh Zakzaky was demolished after burning it down and the rubbles were packed away.
This state terror act was perpetrated against Sheikh Zakzaky who had received several recommendations from far and wide for being peaceful and promoting peace. He had been leading a group of Nigerians that have become the largest blood donors to the National Blood Transfusion Commission in the country. His followers have been received by hundreds of Churches across the country on courtesy calls promoting peace and other unity events.
He has no single record of any crime or terror linked activities or even negative preachments. He had preached against injustice and corruption and had promoted wake up calls to Nigerians seeking developmental progress. In fact he was a victim of the Boko Haram bomb attack where 23 of his followers were killed while on a religious activity.
To cap it all up, officials of this APC led government paid him a hypocritical condolence visit when the first set of his three sons were killed towards the end of the Jonathan’s administration in 2014, because they knew him as a peace promoter. Even President Jonathan was said to have apologized for what happened then.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been proven by a court of competent jurisdiction, the Federal High Court in Abuja to be innocent of all the concocted lies against him by the government. The court ordered that he be released and paid compensation of N50 million, and a house be built for him in any state of his choice in the North. The government acted in contempt of the court and refused to obey the court.
Several groups have called on the Nigerian government to respect the court and release the innocent Sheikh but all to no avail. Among them are credible human rights organizations like Amnesty International, International Human Rights Watch and Islamic Human Right Organization of London, and highly respected religious bodies like the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN. But the government turned deaf ears on all these calls and continue to incarcerate Sheikh Zakzaky and concocting lies against him.
Just of recent, the United States of America in a report declared that Sheikh Zakzaky is a political prisoner and has nothing to do with terrorism, meaning that he was only being jailed for political purposes and not that he had committed any crime or is linked to any.
If the Nigerian government can accept, defend and promote Sheikh Pantami, who it confirmed abetted terrorism and promoted religious crises in Nigeria, then it has no moral right to continue to jail Sheikh Zakzaky who is known to be a peace activist. It has completely lost its morality in the eyes of the world by this. It implies that it has no commitment whatsoever to the fight against the pandemic of terrorism. It implies that the government is not interested in stopping terrorism which some parts of the country have been confirmed to have been taken over by the terrorists.
This singular act by the Nigerian government only depicts it as institutionalizing injustice and unfairness to the citizens and promoting nepotism, a situation that is worsening the tranquillity in the country and promoting calls by some Nigerians for restructuring of the country. Indeed Nigerians are regretting voting this government to power.