Yesterday, some of us on the social media received very shocking images of a siege on the Shi’ites sect in Funtua, Katsina State and some quarters within Kano metropolis. The pictures were horrible and lots of sources confirmed that the unfortunate clash did happen between the police and the sect in Funtua, Kaduna and in Kano, ordinary people attacked the sect members. Anyone with a shred of decency knows that the attacked is unjustifiable.
He/she might not say so for the fear of being branded Shi’ite member. However, even if we all keep quiet over the issue, the danger looming cannot be contained by our silences.
If we have look back on what happened during the Abacha regime, we can say that we learn absolutely nothing of that terrible experience. The regime clamped down on the sect, arresting its members, killing a good number of them. Yet, the sect is today as adamant and unrelenting as it was during the Abacha regime. This shows that the crackdown is not the best method to contain Shi’a.
When I read that former President Obasanjo was in close door meeting with President Buhari, I thought the latter was going to the Villa to advise on how to contain the defiant sect as the Ashoora approaches. If the leadership can negotiate for the release of some Chibok girls, certainly there won’t be any harm in doing same to the Shi’ites to save the fragile peace of a vulnerable region of the country. It is a period of healing and closure, said President Buhari during the UN Summit. A time to try new ways of settling disputes. Over there in the United States, President Obama lifted the trade embargo on Cuba after over 50 years of U.S hostilities with the tiny island.
Thus, the violent treatment we see today would definitely not going to work in our quest for a lasting peace in not only the region but the whole country. We are just coming out of the Boko Haram trauma. We cannot afford another from a sect which outnumbered the BH sect by thousandfold.
Most horrible is the sect being attacked by members of the public. We are slowly heading to an iraqi-situation here. It all started with ordinary people stealing from the pockets of the sect’s members killed in Zaria and subsequent justification of the atrocity by some clerics. At that instant, the public withdrew its empathy for the sect, preparing the ground for their subsequent attack in Kano yesterday. This attack is barbaric and could only be condoned in the pre-thinking era of humanity’s history.
Gradually, people are being incited against each other. In Iraq, it is no longer news of Shi’ites planting bombs in Sunnis mosques and vice versa. Whatever the Shi’ites have done, they deserved and they are entitled to proper trial. This is a 21st century Nigeria!
Again, it is quite alarming that the North cannot speak to itself. The only resource it has is its population and that resource is being wasted everyday as a result of crises; sectarian, interreligious, banditry etc. Why is it that despite our history of a very strong political organisation; the empires of Kanem Bornu and Sokoto Caliphate, we cannot come under any umbrella to address problems eroding our values and threatening our stabilities? Respect for authority is not a new thing to us but we are proving defiant in our actions everyday.
Finally, so many people I have talked to accused the Shi’ites of blackmailing the companions of our beloved Prophet (SAW). Hence, a lot went ahead to say that the Shi’ites are not Muslims at all. I want to leave that part to the learned scholars of Islam. But I think our religion has stated very clearly how to deal with non-Muslims. And I believe the treatment given to the Shi’ites was not according to the Islamic system of justice. You cannot allow mobs to lynched people in processions and call your action Islamic.
Please let peace prevail!!!