This year’s conference theme “Reflections on Quds- Hard facts, tough questions” and with Sub-theme “Key challenges in enforcing and protecting minority rights in Nigeria” had Shaikh Ya’aquob Yahya Katsina as the special guest of Honour, and Barrister Femi Falana, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, Barrister Festus Okoye Esq, Alhaji Muktar Surajo, and Dr John DanFulani as its guest speakers and Mr Jude Ndukwe as the reviewer of the book published and lunched “Compendium of a Social Struggle” Statements, Releases and Letters written by the Islamic movement of Nigeria documenting the Zaria Pogrom.
Dignitaries that were present include Shaikh AbdulHameed Bello, Shaikh Adamu Tsoho Jos, Mal Badamasi Ya’aquob, Chief Ebenezer Onyetekin, Alh Tijjani Abdul Ra’uf, Mr Deji Adeyanju etc. In his speech at the occasion Shaikh Ya’aquob showed concern on the state of Palestine and urge on all never to remain silent and wash the people of Palestine oppressed, for our Creator have enjoyed us never remain silent and see people oppressed. On this Imam Khomeini (QS) have enjoyed us and strengthen our courage to say no to any oppression, and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have always participated in the international Quds day activities called by the revolutionary leader Imam Khomieni (QS) in which in 2014, three children of the leader of IMN Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) and thirty–one others killed by the Nigerian army on their Quds Day protest march. He then called on all Muslims, Arab and conscious minded people to rally around the oppressed Palestinians and help emancipate them from all forms of oppression.
“In a democratic set up where the rule of law prevails, the court decides on any conflict between human rights and national security and the court order must be obeyed” was an important professional remark that came from the renowned solicitor and advocate of law in Nigeria, Barrister Festus Okoye during the course of his lecture in the 3rd Annual international Quds conference organized by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, title “Balancing human rights and national security: Ground realities in Nigeria”. Subsequently, he urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to obey without further delay, the court judgement delivered by Justice Kolawole of the Federal High Court, to release the revered leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh El Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatuddeen Ibraheem.
In another session of the conference proceedings, Barrister Femi Falana (SAN) ably represented by Mr Ezenwa Nwagu, discussed on key challenges in enforcing and protecting minority rights in Nigeria. He observed that right from the colonial era, rules were entrenched to safeguard economic rights of imperialists. The bourgeoisie class now oppresses the majority masses. Due to poverty, he lamented, social and political rights have been denied to masses. For example, without access to education (due to poverty), freedom of expression cannot be exercised. He said that IMN has right to challenge its contemptuous ban by El-rufa'i.
Speaking on the same topic, the renowned human rights activist Prof Chidi Odinkalu redefined the meaning of minority. He observed that those that are not in power, whoever they are, are the minority. In another development he said that the politicians are the great threat to the Nigerian community. They want to divide us along sectarian lines, Muslims VS Christians, Shiites VS Sunni. North VS South, etc.
He asserted that Nigeria is bigger than all of us. All people are part of one community under God. If you are not a brother/ sister in faith you are a brother/sister in humanity. He also lamented on our pathetic situation in Nigeria where politicians abuse power with impunity. A thousand people were massacred in Zaria and 347 (from the account of the perpetrators) were mass buried and up to now No body accounts for this. What kind of nation is this? , he queried.
Dr John Dan Fulani, an academic and activist also had a presentation in the conference. He deliberated on the topic prejudices and stereotypes: debunking misconceived views on IMN - a Christian perspective. He observed that there is no better place than Nigeria where the adage "religion is the opium of the masses" apply. He said that the superb philosophy of the IMN and its peaceful evangelism made it to gain the feat of gathering millions of followers in only 39 years. This unprecedented success, according to him, is the subject of envy from other individuals and organizations. He urged the IMN to consciously engage in mass information to enlighten Nigerians on who we are, what we stand for and what we can do. He commended IMN on being firm, principled and resolute despite being provoked and even pushed to the wall.
Another presenter, Alh Mukhtar Zubair Sirajo, a veteran journalist and seasoned Kaduna public servant, discussed on the narratives and realities of media coverage of the Zaria massacre. He noted that there was no need for El- rufa'i to put up the Judicial Commission of enquiry into the Zaria massacre because he had already passed judgment. Alh Sirajo also brought out the fact that the coverage of the Zaria massacre by the journalists was not in accordance with the professional ethics. He cited a lot of examples to buttress this point. He faulted the current trend of Media ownership in Nigeria and called for redress.
Mr Deji Adeyanju in his comments after all the presentations lamented that the federal Government under this regime does not respect peaceful people. It respects criminals and negotiate with Book Haram or so called herdsmen, who are killers of innocent citizens. He said IMN is innocent principled and peaceful but are pushed to the wall by security operatives, yet they remain resolute.
Mr Jude Ndukwe reviewed the book “Compendium of a Social Struggle” published by the IMN with a lunch in which Shaikh AbdulHameed Bello lunch the book on behalf of the illegally detained leader of the IMN his Eminence Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), Ahlul Duthur of the IMN, Alh Gamawa, Hurras of the IMN and others.
Earlier Dr Shuaibu Musa on behalf of the organizing committee made an introductory speech expressing the concern of the IMN on the faith of Al Quds and Palestine. In the 1st International Quds conference Illegally detained leader of the IMN Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) was the chief host of the conference with Brother Imam Muhammad Al-Asi, Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf, Chief Ebenezer Onyetekin, Prof Dahiru Yahya among dignitaries that made Lectures, presentations and speeches at the conference.
He also prayed to the bereave families of Alh Mi’kail Abdullahi and Mal Haruna Yusuf Shelleng who died a year ago in an ghastly motor accident on their way back home after the 2nd International Quds conference, with himself, Brother Haruna El-Binawi, and Mal Ibrahim Muhammad Potiskum surviving with injuries.
A closing prayer by Shaikh Ya’aquob Yahya Katsina marked at the end of the conference.