No right-thinking mind can justify the carnage that happened in Zaria, Nigeria last weekend. The action of barricading the road for the Chief of Army Staff’s motorcade was totally wrong, be it by the Shiite members or any group that would dare the authority of the Nigerian Army, but the overzealous response of the army was utterly ruthless, unlawful and condemnable. Far more ruthless was the insensitivity of some people towards this matter, only based upon ideological differences and not justice and human compassion. Whosoever you are, justifying and celebrating an unjust killing of humanity is UNGODLY!
Everyone knows this is a tough time for all Nigerian security agents, given their vulnerability to intimidation and terrorists’ target, an unfortunate situation they find themselves or Nigeria, as a whole, finds itself, as a result of their gallantry and sacrifice to fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. More than any time, Nigerians need the army, and they too need the support of Nigerians to win this battle. At this difficult moment of a staggering nation, it is unlawful and apparently an imprudent calculation for any citizen to carelessly challenge the forces that on a daily basis put their life on the line to protect him. This could easily lead to overreaction as that of a wounded lion. And, it did, unfortunately.
Often, our strength is not in the power we exert but in the coordination of our wisdom. Responding to a delicate and complex situation that involves unarmed citizens in resistance, such as this one, must be handled carefully with utmost concern about human right violations and consequential effects of overreaction, which many perceive to be the reason for the escalation of Boko Haram insurgency. The Nigerian government must condemn this action and bring the obsession of the military, and anyone found involved to justice.
For Nigerians who still do not understand what this country is all about should wake up! Different people, freedom of worship, over 450 languages, unique cultures and admirable talents are the ingredients that make up this beautiful nation. What bound this diversity into strength is tolerance – the compassion to give someone a square meter space where God has endowed you with a hundred-meter shelter; the wisdom to put yourself in someone’s shoes, in good and in bad; the faith to look at your enemy and say, ‘may God be with you.’ This is the distinctive character of Prophet Muhammad upon whom be peace and blessing of Allah. When his enemies abused and stoned him, he would cry and pray for Allah to forgive them. He was never happy because someone, human or an animal, was devastated. Allah has admonished his servants to be just to friends and foes alike.
President Buhari must wake to the call of a grieving nation. If carefree and clueless leadership in the face of the insurgency were drowning Nigeria, indiscriminate killing of innocent citizens, such as the one that happened in Zaria last Saturday, would never rescue her.