By John Shiklam
A Kaduna State High Court, presided by Justice Hanatu Gwada, has discharged and acquitted 100 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) standing trial in the state.
In a statement friday in Kaduna, spokesmen of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said those discharged and acquitted were being prosecuted by the Kaduna State Government in connection with the December 2015 clashes between Islamic group and the Nigerian Army in Zaria.
Musa said another court had previously acquitted about 100 members of the group in the same case.
The statement said, the court, in the judgment delivered on Friday by Justice Gwada, absolved both the leadership and membership of IMN of any blame in the events that led to the Zaria massacre.
Over 340 members of the IMN members were killed during the clashes between the Nigerian Army and were buried in a mass grave in Mando area of Kaduna in December 2015.
Leader of the IMN, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, who have been in detention since their arrest during the incident, are also being prosecuted by the Kaduna state government for alleged culpable homicide, among other charges.
Musa said: “The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has today, Friday, 21/2/2020 again secured a favourable judgement in the case brought before the Kaduna State High Court against the last batch of its members detained since December 2015 following the heinous attacks by the Nigerian Army in Zaria.
“The court discharged and acquitted all the 100 remaining accused members and vindicated the Islamic Movement, thereby absolving both the leadership and membership of any blame in the events leading up to the Zaria massacre.
“This concludes the four-year legal battle, in which the Kaduna state government sued almost close to 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the Movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 that led to the killing of over a thousand innocent souls, and a secret mass grave burial. “Of the survivors of that horrendous attack falsely accused by the Kaduna state government, a Kaduna State High Court had earlier discharged and acquitted about a hundred of them since the 31st of July, 2018.
“They all stood trial for sundry offenses, including culpable homicide punishable by death”.
The statement said with the judgment, the Kaduna state government has again failed in court after a fair trial.
“It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity. This judgement is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution
“With this victory today, the false charges filed against the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife of aiding and abetting the alleged culpable homicide by these same discharged persons have been punctured for good”.
It added that the court “judgment is a further proof that the IMN and its leader have been only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the government.”
“We therefore urge the Kaduna state government to swallow its pride and withdraw the fake charges it filed against the Sheikh and his wife, and release them immediately.
“We give praises to the Almighty for this successful outing in court. 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” the statement said.