By; Juliana Katung, Kaduna.
As the Nigeria Army yesterday submitted its presentation without the representatives of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), the Judicial Commission of Inquiry looking into the Army/Shiite Clash of 12-14th of December, 2015 set to continue with the state Government and other parties’ presentation if the IMN fails to appear today Thursday 7 April, 2016.
The Chairman of the Commission Mohammed Lawal Garba during the hearing on Wednesday, said the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiite failed to appear; even after they have gained access to their leader, Ibraheem Elzakzaky.
According to him, the Commission of inquiry scheduled Wednesday for the Army presentation and today Thursday 7th for the IMN, stressing that the commission cannot compel any party to appear before it as several adjournment were made to ensure access is gained to the Shi’ite leader which was achieved.
Gaining access to the leader of the group was a prerequisite the legal team of IMN emphasized for their appearance before the commission.
Garba however noted that the IMN has been given every opportunity for fair hearing, instead they stop appearing and
approach the court, as such, there was no longer any reason for the commission to wait.
He said “however, the commission bylaws is not bound to wait for any party, and since they appear not to come and present their side of what happened last December in Zaria, we shall proceed without them.
“The commission is ready to hear from them in any event they change their mind to appear, but if they fail to appear, the proceedings will continue and will submit it reports to the government.”
Meanwhile, the Army Chief of Operations, Gen. Adamu B. Abubakar in his presentations for the Nigeria Army, said the Army on the incident of 12th December acted based on the rule of engagement and code of conduct of the Army.
The officer noted that they pleaded to have their way, the young men remain adamant which resulted to what has happened.
After recalling the incidences that happened in enclosures one to eleven of their memoranda, and Compact Discs (CDs) as further evidence of what transpired on days of the clash, one of the enclosures presented in the CDs as explained by Abubakar was training of the Qura group by the IMN whom he said are members of the Movement, adding that the Qura group who are of both sexes receive military training to kill and they are a system within a system.
While recalling a similar encounter the Army had with the group on 24th July, 2014, due to the nature of their procession on busy roads, he said a postmortem test was conducted on one IMN member and an Army officer who lost their lives in the clash.
According to him, one Army officer, Col. Babayo was stabbed by a woman in a Mosque when he tried to use the power of language and religion to talk to them in peace.
While recounting witnesses’ statements, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade pointed out that he gave the directives of minimal necessary force to curtail what has happened to avoid total break down of law and order in Zaria.
“I saw hundreds of young men/women holding weapons like cutlass, garriors, bows/arrows while chanting from a distance and
from my assessment, that was a serious threat for us and stability of Zaria people” he added.
He said he immediately ordered the officers with him to secure Husainiyya, Gyellesu (residence of Zakzaky) and Dambo (small shrine) for cordon and search where he emphasized the rules of engagement and recovering of weapons.
According to him, every effort made by the Army to contact the leader of the group failed and in early hour of December 14th, the leader was recovered from his residence with his wife from Zaria when he surrendered.
On injuries inflicted on El-Zakzaky, Oyebade said El-Zakzaky likely got injured in the course of the operation, adding that on the Army side, one live was lost and six others injured.
According to him, El-Zakzaky was given the best medical treatment at the military medical facility while about 300 members of the Shi’ite that surrendered were handed over to Police.
The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani kukasheka Usman and Acting Provost Marshall of the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General Ayuba Tet Hamman, also gave similar account as eye witnesses.