* Hinges decision on new openings for resolution of crisis
By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMM) has announced temporary suspension of its “free Zakzaky” street protests.
The federal government had last week proscribed the group following a federal High Court ruling, describing it as a terrorist organisation.
Members of the Islamic organisation have been protesting against the continuous detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, who have been in detention for over three years.
The IMN leader and his wife have been in detention since their arrest in December 2015, following a violent clash between his followers and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna state.
Spokesman of the IMN, who announced the suspension of the protests in a statement on Wednesday, said the action was to allow room for some new openings aimed at resolving the problem.
He said the decision to suspend the protests was taken in good faith, adding that it is out of respect for some eminent people and groups, whose input in the resolution of the problem, looks genuine.
The statement said: “The Islamic Movement in Nigeria do hereby announce to the general public and the international community that it has temporarily suspended its ’Free Zakzaky’ street protests to allow for some new openings into the resolution of the problems, especially the court case instituted by our lawyers on the proscription order made by the federal government this week.
”It has taken this step in good faith out of respect for some eminent people and groups, whose input in the resolution of the problems appears genuine and we sincerely hope an amicable way could be found to solve the crises surrounding the illegal detention of our leader for almost four years now.
”If at all any protests occur anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reach those in the field or this message is misunderstood or it is some security agents who are mischievously behind it as they have been doing in an attempt to smear our image and be seen as unruly people rather than as victims of savage oppression since 2015.
”The Islamic Movement wishes to thank both national and international civil rights activists and organizations who have been busy demanding the protection of our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.
”We also thank the press, both national and international, and the social media activists for the full coverage of our activities throughout the struggle for justice.
”We are committed to exploring the new openings we have seen in resolving this protracted issue.
“We therefore reiterate our demand that our leader, his wife and several others in detention be given their freedom denied to them since 2015.“