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Zaria Massacre: Shi’ite Demands Release Of Leader Pre-Condition To Appearance Before Inquiry Panel

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By Bello Adisa
Kaduna (Nigeria) — Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as the Shi’ite, says the unconditional release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky is the pre-condition for its appearance before the Judicial panel set up by Kaduna state government to investigate the massacre of its members by Nigerian Army last December.

In a statement by its Spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, the group also said its leader is the custodian of all documents and has to be released for the Movement to prepare its Memorandum and assemble witnesses for appearance before the panel.

“The Kaduna State Government has finally established the Judicial Commission of Inquiry it promised to establish. While the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN has called for the setting up of an impartial and independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry made up of independent persons and members of the international human rights community to unravel the circumstances that led to the pogrom in Zaria and its environs, it believes that the events of December 12, 2015 that led to the massacre of its members, the maiming of hundreds, the detention of its cadres and destruction of its properties are premeditated and that the Federal and Kaduna State Government are in a face saving measure regarding the gross human rights violations that it deliberately perpetrated.

“The Movement believes in the justness of its cause and the fact that the events that led to the setting up of the Judicial Commission is premeditated and will appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry only on the following conditions:

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“That the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria should be released unconditionally. The Nigerian Government is holding the leader of the Movement incommunicado knowing that he is the custodian of the documents of the Movement and has to give direction to the Movement in the preparation of its Memorandum and the assembling of its witnesses.

“The Nigerian Military and the Nigerian Police must make a full disclosure of the number of persons in their various detention centers and grant lawyers of the Movement access to most of them. This is because the Movement has credible evidence that a large number of its members are still in detention in military facilities and detention centers.

“The Nigerian Military and the Nigerian Police must also make full disclosure of the number of persons they took to the various hospitals and the location of the hospitals to enable the Lawyers of the Movement have access to them and interview them preparatory to the inauguration of the Commission.

“The Commission of Inquiry must also give full assurance that the members of the Movement that will give evidence will be fully protected.

“The Kaduna State Government and the Kaduna State Police Command must disclose the number of persons it has charged to court and the number of persons it has in prison custody. This is necessary as the Kaduna State Police Command and the Kaduna State Government illegally and in a secret procedure granted detention orders against members of the Movement and herded them to the Kaduna Central Prison without taking any of them before any Magistrate Court. Presently, over 200 members of the Movement are in custody at the Kaduna Central Prison.

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“The IMN has a list of 730 missing persons that are either killed by the Army or are still in military detention facilities for which the Army is claiming that there is no single member of the Movement with them. Those in military detention facilities should be
released and corpses of those killed be handed over to us for befitting Islamic burials.

“There are some members of the panel that are clearly neither impartial nor credible having shown open hostility to the movement and its leadership through their utterances, writings or actions in the past. Some had even called the government to go for the jugular of the Islamic Movement in the past. The IMN does not see any possibility of fairness and justice from them due to their stance on the Movement and Shia. Definitely in their position of arch-enmity with the Movement compromises any fairness from them in this matter. Independent human rights bodies should be included in the commission.

“These conditions that have been stated need to be fulfilled by the state government to convince the IMN that the state government, which is also an accomplice in the crime, since it demolished our properties and deliberately wiped out practical evidences of the army brutality on the movement, is not setting up the enquiry to justify the indictment of the Movement by both the federal and state governments,” the statement reads.

Kaduna State Government on Saturday named a 14-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into the 12th-14th December 2015 clashes in Zaria between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian Army.

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