The Oasis Reporters
October 30, 2018
By way of a brief introduction, the Shiite is an Islamic sect that is part of state governance in a few countries like Iran, Syria etc and are quite significant in countries like Iraq, Yemen etc.
Unlike Nigeria where the Shiite sect are seen as a minority religious group within Islam and largely detested by the majority Sunni Muslims in the country. Consequently, most of the officers in the Army can be assumed to be Sunni Muslims.
Based on the antagonism and intolerance that pervade religious relationships in the country, it is safe to say that in any confrontation between the army and Shiite group, death and destruction would more often than not, result out of it.
Nigeria is unlike America, though the largest African country, Nigeria operates an American style constitution, the operation of such differ vastly, one to the other.
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam in America once decided to organize a One Million Man March on Washington and he would not be dissuaded. Then American president, Bill Clinton discreetly announced that he was visiting another city at the other end of the United States.
The Nation of Islam held it’s march and made it’s speeches, even getting a goodwill message read by President Bill Clinton. There was no army presence, no shootings, no killings. That is the level of tolerance and restraint in the United States.
Part of the religious rites of the Shiite group is to hold rallies and street processions that can disrupt traffic for several hours whenever it occurs, usually publicized weeks before it happens.
Intolerance would not allow the command of brute force to let this pass and let peace reign.
Therefore, from year to year, military confrontation with the Shiite sect has become a recurring decimal In Nigeria’s Northern region.
In the last few weeks, the Shiite sect has been protesting mostly in Abuja and from time to time in Kaduna over “the continuous detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was arrested when his followers blocked the Zaria Road which was said to have hindered the free movement of the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai who was returning from an engagement in Zaria on 12th December, 2015. General Buratai’s men shot through the protesters killing 7 people, and later stormed Shiekh El-Zakzaky’s residence where the main activities were going on, killing over 700 Shiites members”, according to Newissues Magazine , an online news medium.
Many more Shiite members have been killed in recent clashes with security agencies in Abuja.
A book, POORLITICS by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim a former governor of Yobe state that is a hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency, Co authored by Agha Egwu, a sociologist, suggests on Page 410 and 411, how to tackle insurgency.
It says inter-alia, “As for the Muslim Shiites, they are a sect that many Sunni Muslims believe are apostates of Islam and should be dealt with. Their beliefs are different from those of us who are Sunni Muslims. This problem between the military and the Shiites, under Zakzaky, their leader, had been going on for a long time. They were killed by the military under President Jonathan, and they were massacred in 2016 under Buhari administration. There should be a fresh attempt to solve the problem, so they can exercise their beliefs if they are peaceful. I would solve the problem by talking to them and their leadership very seriously, rather than using arms and ammunition or soldiers to force anybody against their beliefs.
In this issue of beliefs, whether it is right or wrong, a belief is a belief and nothing can be done about it. They are sect. They are not the only sect. Boko Haram and Izala are sects. There are many sects. Boko Haram was a very peaceful sect under me. They were receiving assistance, like all the other sects, to carry out their charity work with the poor. They were just ordinary till the police troubled them with violence. The solution to such problems is to talk to them to find out what their genuine grievances are and try to solve them before they become too explosive and too expensive. ”
Additional information :
Poorlitics: Ibrahim, Bukar Abba and Egwu, Agha