Zaria Massacre: NSCIA summons expanded emergency meeting, over 200 top Muslim leaders to attend

Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar

The leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has summoned an emergency “expanded general purpose meeting ” over last week’s massacre of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

The NSCIA is the highest Islamic body in Nigeria, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar.

A source at the NSCIA told PREMIUM TIMES that about 200 top Muslim leaders were invited for the meeting called to review the massacre.

The invitees have already started arriving Abuja, this newspaper learnt.

“The meeting will hold at 4pm today at the National Mosque,” the source said.

Another source said those attending Wednesday’s meeting include all elected officials of the NSCIA as well as all past leaders of the body.

“Others are leaders of all Islamic organisations in Nigeria, top Muslim leaders, clerics, scholars and traditional rulers,” our source said.

He also said all former governors, ministers, Inspectors General of Police, all former Chiefs of Army Staff, Chiefs of Air Staff, Chiefs of Naval Staff and Chiefs of Defence Staff who are Muslims have also been invited for the meeting.

“Those serving in the present administration are however, excluded,” he said.

A top official of the NSCIA, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to disclose the meeting to the media, said the NSCIA called the meeting because it was “shocked by the silence of both the government and the human rights community over the massacre”.

“Where is our humanity, how can a people be so massacred and we all remain silent as if it is normal,” he said. “Today it is the Shiite, tomorrow, it could be me or you,” he said.

Efforts to reach the Secretary General of the NSCIA, Is-haq Oloyode, were unsuccessful. Those close to him said he was on his way to Abuja from his Ilorin base.

The NSCIA official, who spoke to this newspaper, said the meeting would likely set up a panel to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the incident.

“We might also look at how to engage the government over this ugly incident,” he said.

The NSCIA had earlier issued a statement warning the Nigerian military authorities against plunging the country into another Boko Haram-like insurgency with the repeated attacks on members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

The statement, signed by Mr. Oloyede, said the history of the circumstances that engendered the outbreak of militant insurgency in the past, with serious consequences that Nigeria is yet to recover from, should not be allowed to repeat itself.

NSCIA also urged the Federal Government to immediately constitute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to thoroughly unravel the immediate and remote causes of the current mayhem.

“Besides, the Commission should also investigate the past incidents involving the Movement so that justice can be done,” the NSCIA had said.

The embattled sect is claiming that 800 of its members were murdered when troops of the Nigerian Army descended on the movement’s Husainiyyah base and the home of its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, in Zaria.

Trouble began for the group when they reportedly barricaded a road that was to be used by the Chief of Army Staff on his way to the palace of the Emir of Zazzau and the Nigerian Army Depot to review a passing-out parade.

The Army said all entreaties to the Shiite members to open the road and allow the COAS pass failed.

The Army also said those who blocked the road began to attack the COAS convoy and that soldiers had no option than to “defend themselves”.

The initial incident occurred on Saturday afternoon.

However, the army reportedly returned late in the evening and the Shiites said hundreds of their members in the second attack.

The Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital said it has at least 60 bodies from the clash in its mortuary.

The Hussainiyyah base of the group was destroyed as well as the home of the Shiites leader, Mr. Zakzaky.

The Army also said it has in “protective custody” Mr. Zakzaky and his wife.

Mr. Zakzaky is believed shot during the attack and is said to be receiving treatment at a military facility.


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