Kaduna (Nigeria) — Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have taken to the streets again in protest, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky currently in custody of Nigerian securities despite alleged deteriorating health condition.
The protesters chanted “we are not terrorist, we don’t have arms and we don’t intend to fight but Allah is our protector”, “government should do justice and release our leader, his family, our sisters, brothers, husband, children.
“It is not justice to detain them and destroy our houses and other buildings.” We are all Zakzaky”, “El-rufa’i will be destroyed, while Zakzaky will still remain” and “Government is boko haram”.
Addressing journalists, a leading cleric of the Movement, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello condemned the continued detention of the leader of the Movement, describing it as illegal and a violation of Zakzaky’s fundamental human rights.
The cleric said, the IMN will not compromise on its call for the release of its leader, describing Wednesday’s protest as just the beginning.
He called on people of conscience to continue to raise their voices against impunity and disregard to law an order perpetrated by Nigerian government where the President can simply order the killing, arrest and detention of anyone for his personal interest.
He said the detention of Sheikh Zakzaky by the Nigeria and denying him the right to medical attention despite his deteriorating health condition is an outright violation of the tenets of democracy and civility and must be condemned by all right-thinking persons.
Members of the IMN, men, women and children stormed the Kaduna metropolis in their thousands carrying placards, posters and banners calling for the release of their revered leader chanting Free Our Leader! Free Sheikh Zakzaky! A very prominent banner carried the inscription “Zakzaky Needs a Doctor”.
Kaduna state government had set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) to investigate the killings of the IMN members by the Nigerian Army in December 2015, the report of which has since been submitted to Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-rufai and recently made public.
The IMN had since condemned the report as being inconsistent with the recommendations made, suggesting that the recommendations were prepared even before the inquiry was concluded.
Following pressure from rights groups on President Muhammadu Buhari’s silence on the Zaria incidence, the presidency absolved itself from continued detention of leader of the Movement.
IMN claims that over a thousand of its members were killed by the Army during the attack, while the JCI confirmed that 347 have been buried by the Kaduna state government and the Army in a mass grave.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai claims that he killed only seven.