Dr. Shu’aibu Musa recounts the history of the Muslim struggle against Sani Abacha’s regime in Nigeria.
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This paper was presented at the Prisoners of Faith Conference in February 2002.
It is with some trepidation that I stand before distinguished scholars and activists in this conference to deliver a paper on aspects of the experiences of prisoners of faith in Nigeria. My worry is not without causes and is furthered by the fact that I have been instructed to step into the very big shoes of my eminent leader, guide and mentor, Mu’allim Ibraheem Zakzaky.
This paper would only give a very brief account of the scenery of an otherwise complex and lingering subject of rights violation of the leadership and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. To be fair, it would be impossible to adequately tell the experiences acquired by millions of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the able leadership of Mu’allim Zakzaky over more than a decade in less than twenty minutes. However, I will try, as much as time would allow, highlighting experiences taken from selected individual and collective accounts. Certain oddity about rights violation when it pertains Muslim activists will be shown and attempts would be made to examine why successive regimes, civilian or Military, are so inimical to Islamic beliefs.
For the sake of convenience, I will speak more extensively on the brutal crackdown of the Abacha era and only sporadically touch on one or the other periods as appropriate not because members of the Islamic Movement were better treated by other regimes, but of course because, Abacha was the late dictator, under whose reign the Islamic Movement in Nigeria waded through the sorrowful turbulence of unrefined terror, as we shall see shortly.