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Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria yesterday said the state-wide broadcast made by Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i over the mass killings of their members in Zaria by the army has revealed deep anti-Shiites sentiments in some official quarters.
A statement by the movement spokesperson Ibrahim Musa at the weekend said the broadcast only favoured the military attackers and others who had always harboured sentiments against the leader and members of the Islamic movement.
He said the speech revealed “clear that the governor is more like an extremist anti-Shiite governor and not a state governor.
Though the governor took time to elaborate on rights to religion and social association, “but he chose to deny only the Shiites such rights as he sees them as his enemies,” the statement said.
The movement said “No justice should be expected from a speech made up with details only provided by the antagonistic culprits without hearing from the other party who are the victims in this case.”
On the governor’s assertions that the movement’s Hussainiya centre breached building permit, the Shiites had tried to forcibly acquire the property of their neighbours, the statement said no such thing could be proven, adding that a mere court order would have been enough to compel compliance.
“For Governor El-Rufai to claim that there is no valid paper on the land on which Husainiyya was built as the basis for this military attack, only further proves that the attack was premeditated,” he said.
On Gabari crisis, the spokesperson said the fact is that some Salafist Muslims in Gabari had killed four Shiites on Thursday, 10 December 2015.
“We would like to ask Mr. Governor, how many disputes over mosques have been reported in the 37 years that the movement has been there in Zaria?
“The idea that Shiites will go and take over a Salafi mosque is as laughable as the idea that Christian evangelicals will raid a Catholic cathedral and tell the adherents to get out,” he said.
He expressed Shiites’ bewilderment that the governor could allege in his broadcast that Zakzaky’s followers carry offensive weapons even though the military, at its press conference, had clearly stated that they did not find any weapons after the mass killings in Zaria.
On road blocks, he said “clearly, this is a deliberate attempt to twist the facts because during the Arbaeen symbolic treks, we blocked only limited part of the road, and this is to protect persons from traffic accidents, control mass movement and avoid chaos on the roads.
“Citing road block as the reason for this brutal attack is just laughable. Where in the law books is it written that those who block the roads should be massacred without trials?” he queried.
The movement said a judicial inquiry on the matter headed by a state judge would be ineffective against an army, which is under the federal government.