By Danlami Nmodu
Comrade Issa Aremu has condemned the death of 20 people in Ilorin during the eid el kabir (eid mubarak)rally. “The reported deaths of as many as 20 poor aged, mostly women in another stampede at a Sallah rally at the house of Senator Bukola Saraki of Kwara State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ilorin on Wednesday were massacres getting too addictive, inhuman and unacceptable”Aremu said in a statement Saturday.
The comrade who is the vice president of Nigerian Labour Congress said “Ilorin deaths have introduced a dangerous dimension to violence in Nigerian politics. When “accidents” become addictive as they are in Ilorin, they become rituals that must be condemned, investigated and stopped once and for all.
“This latest tragedy and human wastages should not be swept under the official carpet of the ruling party in the state. On the contrary the Organizers of these periodic murders in the name of charity must be identified and prosecuted for negligence and murder by Kwara state government failing which the private citizens reserve the right to private prosecution.
“Similar mass deaths occurred in 2010 and 2011 at the Mandate office of the PDP in Ilorin under the pretext of an alleged stampede while people were ostensibly collecting gifts at Sallah”,he added.
In his reaction to the tragedy,Senator Saraki reportedly said in a statement issued by his aide “I am deeply saddened to receive the news about the loss of some of our party members who were stampeded after the Sallah festivities at the charity house.”
According to the senator “Our party’s strength resides solely in the support from party faithful which gives us huge confidence always; it’s very painful to have lost these party faithful.
“I commiserate with the families of the deceased and pray that Allah grant us the strength to bear the loss, and for those responding to treatment, I wish them speedy recovery.”
Read Aremu’s statement below:
October 19, 2013
SALLAH GREETINGS; LEADERS SHOULD STOP MAKING THEIR PEOPLE SACRIFICIAL LAMBS
Greetings to all Muslim workers and Christian compatriots on the occasion of Eid-ul-Mubarak. The concluded Festival of Sacrifice represents two significant Islamic events: the culmination of the Hajj (or pilgrimage to the Holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia), and the sacrifice that God (Allah) commanded to Prophet Abraham of his beloved son, Ismail.
The great lesson of the Eid was the Mercy of Allah on Abraham by replacing his son Ismail at the moment of sacrifice with a lamb. God’s mercy was for Abraham’s selfless act of obedience. Today Nigerians of all persuasions must seek the mercy of God. Moreso elected and appointed leaders who inspite of mercy of Allah to them are increasingly merciless to their people. Like prophet Ibrahim, we must strive to pass the test of obedience to God. Nigerian leaders through good governance should stop the deaths of Nigerians on the roads and in the air given the recent serial air mishaps.
ILORIN SALLAH MASSACRE UNACCEPTABLE, CRIMINAL
Almighty Allah showered His generous mercy on human kind by replacing human lives with yet domestic animals such as a lamb, sheep, cow, or goat. Conversely the so-called Nigerian leaders “sacrifice” their fellow followers in the name of giving charity at Sallah. Ilorin deaths have introduced a dangerous dimension to violence in Nigerian politics. When “accidents” become addictive as they are in Ilorin, they become rituals that must be condemned, investigated and stopped once and for all.
This latest tragedy and human wastages should not be swept under the official carpet of the ruling party in the state. On the contrary the Organizers of these periodic murders in the name of charity must be identified and prosecuted for negligence and murder by Kwara state government failing which the private citizens reserve the right to private prosecution.
Similar mass deaths occurred in 2010 and 2011 at the Mandate office of the PDP in Ilorin under the pretext of an alleged stampede while people were ostensibly collecting gifts at Sallah.
KILL POVERTY, NOT THE POOR
The recent report of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations report disclosed that a total of 842 million people in 2011–13, (around one in eight people in the world) suffer from chronic hunger. However even at that, there is no known place in the world where the poor, the hungry are annually assembled to die like rams and goats on account of their deprivations for “gifts” during Sallah than Ilorin under the supervision of Senator Bukola Saraki, so-called leader of a faction of the state ruling party, PDP.
THE POOR NEED JOBS AND INCOMES, NOT “GIFTS”
The state government should govern over citizens into prosperity through industrialization and public works that can create decent mass jobs and incomes for the poor. The poor do not need “charity” and “gifts” paid with public funds. What the people need is work and income generating employment initiated by governments at all levels. The Federal government and many state governments appreciate as much. If Kwara state government has however elected to transform its citizens into destitutes hunting and gathering for a Senator’s gifts of clothes and handouts, at Sallah, it is still clearly unacceptable, uncharitable and criminal that “charity” bazaar ends in periodic emergency graves and mass burials in Ilorin.
QUESTIONS BEGGING FOR ANSWERS
Who assembled who to where without regard to safety? Whose money and materials were being shared? How many have died since 2010 and their names? What is the gender composition of the dead? What compensations are they entitled to? Genuine politicians, community civil society and religious leaders must rise to demand for accountability from those who claim to lead us but organise periodic chaos that lead to mass deaths as we witnessed last Wednesday in Ilorin. The Nigeria Human Rights Commission must investigate the Ilorin serial mass murders.
Many Nigerians share the sadness of Ilorin deaths. But this singular tragedy cannot be treated as business as usual of lip service empathy as the statement of Senator Bukola Saraki suggested. The latest victims are not just “party faithful” but mothers, fathers, potential workers and citizens who should be adding value to national development. All Nigerians must be concerned about avoidable death of one Nigerian. Deaths of scores of Nigerians must even be more worrisome. A violence to as many as 20 in the name of charity in Ilorin is violence to us all. The souls of the dead can only be in peace if justice is done to expose those behind these mass murders in the name of stampede.
ISSA AREMU mni
VICE PRESIDENT, NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC)