• Osinbajo says Nigeria will not abandon its fallen heros •Release corpses of our members, IMN tells police
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Idris Ibrahim, yesterday said his men killed members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiites, during a clash in Kano State on Monday because they (IMN members) were armed to the teeth and were ready to kill police officers.
Ibrahim, who spoke with State House Correspondents in Abuja after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Emblem and Appeal Fund, said his men were left with no option but to respond to the threat by the Shiites.
He said: “When you have Nigerians armed to the teeth, killing police officers, I don’t think it happens anywhere. I think as Nigerians, we have to appreciate, when you appreciate a dangerous situation, and to be sympathetic with the police that are being killed by some of these miscreants.”
He said the police had the responsibility to ensure law and order in a situation where people take over the whole country.
According to him, early Monday morning, the police got wind of the plan by Shiite members to block the Kano-Zaria Road and that the police reacted by deploying officers to ensure free movement of ordinary Nigerians.
Earlier, the vice president had said that Nigeria would continue to honour members of the armed forces who lost their lives while in service to the country.
Speaking at the launch of the 2017 armed forces remembrance emblem and appeal fund, the vice president said: “We are gathered here today to observe a worthy tradition of acknowledging and appreciating the gallantry and sacrifices of our veterans in the first and second world wars, peace keeping operations around the world and internal security operations, particularly the ongoing campaign against terrorism at home.”
On behalf of the federal government, the vice president launched the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem and appeal fund with N10m.
He said it was noble to honour distinguished veterans, some of who paid the highest price and many others who devoted significant part of their lives to the service of the country and the world at large.
He noted that since independence 56 years ago, the nation had witnessed a number of internal strifes, survived a civil war.
Osinbajo said the theme of this year’s celebration, “Appreciating the resilience of the Nigerian Armed Forces” spoke to the perseverance and dedication of the nation’s serving and departed men in the uniform.
Also the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), described the event as a unique one because it came at a time when Nigeria has achieved milestone in its anti-insurgency war with territories recovered despite economic hardship.
Dan-Ali said the armed forces had played significant roles to maintain peace, hence the nation is grateful to all those who have paid the supreme price.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Col. Micah Gaya (rtd.), told the gathering that the group recently gave food items to 50 widows, bursaries to 50 children and assisted 50 veterans at an event held in Makurdi, Benue State.
Gaya later decorated Osinbajo; representative of the Senate President, Ali Ndume; acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Dan-Ali; as well as service chiefs with the emblem.
Meanwhile, Kano State chapter of the IMN has charged the police to, as a matter of urgency, release the corpses of over 50 members of their sect killed in Kano during clash with policemen.
The Shiites leader in Kano, Malam Sanusi Abdulkadir Koki, told journalists in Kano yesterday that apart from claiming the colossal damages of properties and human lives on the part of their members, Shiite was yet to understand why police should be paid salary with the tax payers’ money who they also molested and killed.
Koki also vowed that no amount of persecution or unnecessary attack from the police or any organ of the security operatives can either prevent or force them not to practise their religion in accordance to the doctrine of what they believe in.
Disputing the figure of casualties from the clash as presented by the police, Koki said: “It was far from the truth”
The Shiites leader also demanded the immediate release of the corpses of their members so that they would be given a befitting burial in accordance with Islamic rites.
He also threatened to institute legal action against the Nigeria Police over what they described as gruesome murder of their members while on peaceful procession.