4 November 2018
Brigadier-General John Agim, the acting director of defence information, said in an interview yesterday in response to why the Nigerian army gunned down about 46 Shia Muslims in the country’s capital of Abuja that: “Nobody can take on the military. We don’t have rubber bullets”, adding chillingly, that anyone prepared to “take on” the army better “be ready for the consequences”.
It was hard to believe he was talking about the citizens he was meant to protect and not a foreign enemy.
Watch the show shame from the officer as the interviewer Osasu Igbinedion tried to hide her incredulity:
The Nigerian army also slaughtered over 300 Shi’ites in Zaria in December 2015 and Agim said this was justifiable because they obstructed the road that the Chief of Army Staff was using. He said those complaining about the mass murder didn’t understand the “context”! What “context” means that the army should slaughter civilians, including women and children? Agim said the Shia were “law unto themselves” and they had stockpiled arms. So that makes it right for over 300 people to be killed. The shameful thing about all this is that Agim felt no shame.
The alleged “context” for the killing of over 40 in the capital was that the army couldn’t “allow their weapons to be taken away”. So unarmed civilians tried to disarm the soldiers? Very unlikely. It seemed the officer was willing to blurt out any crazy thought that came to his head to make mass murder acceptable. He described the massacre in Zaria as the army “went after” the Shi’ites and they “had attacked the military and the military responded”.
At one point, Agim said that this is how Boko Haram started, presumably referring to how the Islamists were stockpiling arms without being curtailed. He didn’t have the self-consciousness to recognise that Boko Haram resorted to violence following extrajudicial killings of their leader and followers by the Nigerian authorities and the army was repeating the same idiocy.
He then said that nobody should be above the law, apparently referring to the Shia and presumably excluding the army from this requirement.