John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites has warned of the consequences of the continued detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December last year following a clash between the Shiites and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the clash had in its report blamed El-Zakzaky for the incident which led to many loss of lives and recommended that he be investigated and prosecuted.
The Islamic group in a statement yesterday in Kaduna, demanded the unconditional release of El-Zakzaky, warning that it would be a tragedy of monumental proportion if the Islamic leader who is said to have sustained an eye injury goes blind.
“We demand that our leader and the wife must be released unconditionally without delay. It will be a tragedy of monumental proportions should our leader go blind in detention or suffer further physical disability due to him being denied access to adequate medical attention,” the statement declared.
The statement signed by Ibrahim Musa, the President of the Media Forum of the IMN also alleged that those that are keeping El-Zakzaky in detention were doing so to humiliate him and make sure that he goes completely blind and render him powerless before releasing him.
The IMN said: “We understand those that sanctioned his detention and those detaining him want to humiliate him and make sure that he goes completely blind before he is eventually released thereby rendering him powerless the moment he is released from unconstitutional and illegal detention.
“The health of our leader and the wife continues to deteriorate on a daily basis and those holding him in custody are playing politics with his detention and that of his wife.
“We urge the Nigerian people and the international community to intervene in this crude violation of the fundamental rights of our leader. The Nigerian constitution and laws do not sanction detention without trial.
“We still insist that our leader should be taken to court if those holding him believe that he has committed any offence known to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, otherwise he must be released forthwith.”
Musa said, as a peaceful organisation the IMN has been demanding for the release of Zakzaky and his wife from detention through all known peaceful and legitimate means, but rather than release them, “the Department of State Services (DSS) claimed that our leader was being held in protective custody.”
The IMN also disowned two legal practitioners, one Bello Ibrahim and Sadau Garba who claimed to be solicitors to the Movement and El-Zakzaky, and the DSS, purportedly connived with them and wrote a letter requesting El-Zakzaky release for treatment abroad.
“In the said letter, the two solicitors, acting at the behest of the DSS, claimed that the agency saved the life of our revered leader by giving him what they called the best medical care.
“They also claimed that our revered leader is appreciative of his treatment in detention and on the basis of that called on the DSS to allow the family take him out of the country for further medical care.
“The IMN wants to make it clear that the said Sadau Garba and one Bello Ibrahim are not solicitors to the IMN and are not solicitors to our revered leader.
“The IMN and our revered leader never briefed them in relation to any issue involving the movement and our revered leader never briefed them in relation to his detention, the detention of his wife, the trial of over 250 of his followers and the killing of his sons and over 1,000 of his followers,” the statement said.