As the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the December 2015 killings in Zaria, Kaduna state continues to sit, the Arewa Youth Intellectual Forum, AYIF, has raised an alarm over plots to politicize the investigation ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The group said there are plans by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, to pitch the Federal Government against the Kaduna State Government in the investigation. The National Secretary of AYIF, Peter Bawa, who spoke with at a press conference, in Abuja, said it will do all it can to resist the sinister attempt to politicize and rubbish the investigation into the Zaria incident.
The group also urged the Federal Government to do everything possible to stop the radicalisation and militarisation of the IMN or any other group, sect or religion that has the indoctrination of youths as its focus.
“It is out of our desire to prevent a repeat of the trauma that Arewa Youths have endured and must never be allowed to experience again. “We are worried that the various probes of the Zaria incident are at risk of being politicised and the narrative hijacked by the IMN. “We have signed up to being part of a secular Nigeria and therefore we are at a loss as to where IMN wants to drag this country to “These elements are trying to create unnecessary bad blood between the Federal Government, the Nigerian Army and the Kaduna State Government as a last resort to remain relevant in the minds of Nigerians and to impress the foreign powers that are bankrolling them.
“We should all be worried that persons who are citizens of this country are the ones undermining not just its sovereignty but are also bent on wiping Nigerian off the map of the world as we currently know it “The attempt to politicize the proceedings was inducing enough without trying to paint the Nigerian Army into the politics of 2019.
“It marked a new low for Harun Elbinawi and his cohorts” “We are desirous of unbiased findings that will help in fashioning future responses and initiatives that will free youths from the clutches of extreme doctrines. “We are in an age were youths of other countries are charting the way to conquer space and we have here educated persons debunking the concept of a sovereign state in pursuit of extremism.”
While lamenting the stigma that the Northern youths have passed through as a result of the December 2015 incident, Bawa said, “when Boko Haram insurgency became a national, regional and later an international nuisance, it was the youths of northern origin that bore and still bear the brunt of the sins of these extremists.
“Whenever we travel to cities outside of our home states we are given that derisive look on public transport, at job interviews, in open spaces, and any other place that we are compelled to be by necessity.
“Travel out of the country offered no relief as nations of the world have been sold the bogus myth of “Christian-South and Muslim-North” that led to the inevitable conclusion “Since Arewa Youths have been known as a Boko Haram sympathizers, we are profiled by the security agents of these countries on the assumption that the search for radicalised youths is more effective when confined to youths of our extractions.
“Equally important is that by virtue of geographical proximity, Arewa Youths constitute the larger percentage of persons that have been killed by the insurgency. “Some of those lucky to be alive have likely lost bread winners or other loved ones to the terrorists.
“In terms of employment, the years of violence have not only destroyed the economy of the affected places but have also killed off all the possible employment opportunities that would have kept us gainfully engaged. “
This is why we are worried that the various probes of the Zaria incident are at risk of being pollicised and the narrative hijacked by the IMN,” it added.