By Mohammad Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) — Legal team of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shi’ites Islamic sect in Nigeria) Tuesday announced withdrawal from appearance before the Judicial commission of inquiry set up to investigate the clash between members of the sect and Nigerian Army in Zaria last December.
The legal team led by Barrister Festus Okoye told journalists in Kaduna, northwest nigeria, that the decision was taken after several efforts to meet with the sect leader (who is in military custody) failed.
He said, so far the team cannot continue to represent a client that they are not aware whether he is alive or dead and not sure of his state of health considering the fact that he was shot severally by the Nigerian military before he was taken away.
“The legal team of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria will not be used and will not allow itself to be used to legitimize a pre-determined position and agenda against the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“The legal team thought it could lend its support to the movement to tell the Nigerian public and the international community its own version of the events of the 12th to 14th of December 2015, but all efforts aimed at getting proper briefing from the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria met a brick wall.
“The legal team has resolved that in the light of the realities of lack of access, briefing and representation for the movement, the most honorable thing to do is to withdraw completely from appearance before the commission in whatever form and manner and to cease any form of representation in whatever form or manner for the movement.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria believes that the Nigerian people are entitled to know the truth of what happened in Zaria and Kaduna and will explore alternative means and avenues of letting the Nigerian people know the truth of what happened,” Bar. Okoye stated.
Daughter of the Islamic Movement leader, Suhalie Ibrahim El-Zakzaky recounted her ordeal of the bloody invasion of their home by men of the Nigerian Army.
She said they were observing the early morning prayers when the soldiers gained entrance and raided the house.
“We were at home when the attacks on the Hussainniya started. It was around 10pm at night, we heard gunshots from afar. It turned out that the military were there. They were shooting at people and advancing towards the house. We spent our night with shootings going on.
“It was morning when a lot of people were performing their early morning prayers, they got the opportunity to come close to the house and that was when they eventually gained entrance. They killed as much people as they found. They burnt some alive. We were in the house, but in the part that was not burnt down, but I think they assumed that everybody was burnt. So they didn’t search. We spent the night like that.
“In the morning, I think they came to search the house to see what is there. I myself, my parents, my brothers and some other members of the movement were there when they discovered where we were hiding. They randomly shot at us for few seconds or more. When it finally stopped, that was when we realized that my father and mother has been shot.
“And my three brothers have been shot dead and other people they were with. They took us away one by one. We were beaten up and taken away in trucks to the Army depot in Zaria. Since then we lost contact till date. We were detained for four days,” she narrated.