The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) on Sunday, November 4, 2018, released a list detailing the names of the thirty-four individuals that were reported;y killed when the Nigerian Army opened fire on Shi’ites protesters in Abuja. The protesters were participating in the annual Arbaeen Trek when they were shot at point blank range. The deadly attacks on these protesters have been condemned by all and sundry including international media organisations. An attempt was made by the Nigerian Army to defend the killings through its Twitter handle with a distasteful comment made by the U.S. President, Donald Trump who equated stones to a firearm. The post received widespread condemnation from Nigerian and international press and the Army was made to pull it down.
However, it seems the Nigerian Army is not remorseful about its deadly act of unprofessionalism which sent many to their untimely death. In a video clip released online by The Osasu Show, Brigadier General John Ayim, the spokesman of the Nigerian military justified the killings by stating that anyone that attacks the Nigerian Army will be ‘resisted’. The question remains, what attack did the IMN carry out to warrant these mindless killings?
Apart from lying about the number of victims which the military put at 3 which was later revealed to be 34, the Army has turned itself to a willing political tool in the hand of the federal government. This year, a popular Islamic group held Abuja on lockdown for the same thing the Shi’ites were killed for, was the Army unaware of this? The Shi’ites have never been found wanting of killing so when did they suddenly become a danger to Nigeria?
What the Nigerian Army needs to know henceforth is that they are not established to kill Nigerians rather they should protect the territorial integrity of the country. If the Nigerian military is not remorseful for killing Shi’ites how will Nigerians trust them in their neighbourhood? The Nigerian military has a long way to go before it can regain the trust of Nigerians and this is not the way to do it.