John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiite sect has rejected the the recommendations of the judicial commission of inquiry that investigated its clash with the Nigerian Army last December in Zaria, Kaduna State, describing it as absurd.
The 13-member commission headed by Justice Mohammed Garba Lawal in its report which was recently made public by the state government had blamed the leader of the IMN, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, for the incident which led to the killing of many people and destruction of property.
The report had among others, recommended that El-Zakzaky who has been in detention since the incident, be investigated and prosecuted for causing the crisis.
But the IMN in a statement in Kaduna by the Chairman of the Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdulrahaman Abubakar Yola, maintained that the commission never approached the Islamic leader for his own side of the story, even though the IMN had boycotted appearing before the commission on the grounds that some members of the panel were anti Shiite and insisted on the release of Zakzaky among other things as a precondition for its appearance.
The Islamic group argued that Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, which the commission claimed in its report called Zakzaky during the clash, never appeared before the commission.
“The governor never appeared before the judicial commission and the commission never approached our leader for his own side of the story.
“It is gross miscarriage of justice to indict someone (victim) based on what one party (in this case the assailant) said. By virtue of Section 36 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution, no government can hold anyone guilty of any offence without affording him or her opportunity to react to the allegation,” the statement said.
According to Yola, the IMN find the “assertions totally against the principle of natural justice, which affirms that no one shall be condemned unheard,” stressing that “for the chairman who is a senior judicial officer to preside over a judicial commission that made this recommendation is regrettable.”
He accused the commission for giving the state government and the army ample opportunity to present their case before the commission, “whereas Sheikh Zakzaky and other members of the Islamic Movement incarcerated along with him were denied such opportunity.”
The statement noted that “The commission mentioned that all incidents of violence and aggression by the members of the IMN against individuals.