The Kaduna State High Court yesterday freed nearly 100 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shi’ites group, that were arrested at various locations in December 2015 following a clash between the group and the Nigerian Army.
Justice Shiri Nyom in his judgement in the “no case submission” filed by the defence lawyers on the case brought before her, discharged and acquitted the sect members of the charges levelled against them as contained in a statement signed by the President Media Forum of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa and made available to newsmen.
According to the statement, “This judgement has not only vindicated the members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity,” said the statement.
The Islamic movement further stated, “It will be recalled that the Kaduna state government sued almost about 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 which led to the killing of over a thousand souls, including three sons of the Sheikh Zakzaky, his elder sister and a nephew.
“The attack was sequel to the unlawful invasion of the privacy of their residence and eventual destruction of the house completely. This has been aptly described by several human rights bodies as a massacre. To worsen these flagrant crimes against humanity, bodies of all the hundreds killed were hurriedly and secretly buried in mass graves about 100 km away from the scene, apparently in a shoddy attempt at hiding the crime and its magnitude.”
The sect group reiterated its call for the release of its leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife who have equally been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), “We are all aware of the crude tactics of the Kaduna State government led by Malam Nasir el-Rufai all in his devilish plots at perpetuating the persecution against the Islamic movement and the continued detention incommunicado of Zakzaky and his ailing wife in spite of previous court judgement ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting his fundamental rights and rights to liberty.
“With this victory in the court today, the false charges filed against them of aiding and abetting the culpable homicide has been punctured for good,” he said.
We await the response of the Kaduna state government as Zakzaky’s case comes up in the next two days. We expect them to respect the judgement of this honourable court and the course of justice to withdraw the fake charges against him and release him with immediate effect.
“As a peaceful movement, we have kept to our clean tradition of seeking redress through peaceful means without any resort to violence despite deliberate and persistent provocations by the government. Today, Kaduna state government has again failed in court after a fair trial. We therefore give praises to the Almighty Allah for yet another successful outing, which further proves to the world that the Movement and its leader are only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the El-Rufai-led government,” according to the statement.
The IMN thanked all those that stood by it throughout the trial, “We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, human rights activists and organisations, journalists and all those that joined in our dogged campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless.”