From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite has said the continued detention of their leader Shiekh Ibrahim Zakzaky, his wife and hundreds of members in various detention facilities across the country without trial will dent the image of President Muhammadu Buhari who has been seen as a man of justice and transparency.
The group stated this in a press conference to mark 2 years of the Zaria massacre.
Addressing the press on behalf of the group, Sheikh Abdullhamid Bello of the Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, said the invasion of the Islamic centre called Hussainiyyahin by personnel of the Nigeria Army that led to the killings and destruction of the centre is still fresh in their memory.
Similarly, the invasion of Sheikh Zakzaky’s house which is about 5 kilometers from the Islamic centre where the whole killings started is a shame on a government that painted itself as a government of change.
He added that the group with the notion that Buhari will do the right thing, approached the Presidency for the release of their leader and members, but they receive spurious excuses that he’s being kept more “for his own safety” than the offences he committed. And he is not in a typical prison condition, he is in protective custody or that “nobody wants to accept him as a neighbor.”
“Indeed the continuous detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky for almost two years without charges is a sour point in the human rights rating of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration”.
The group also faulted the Kaduna State Government for absolving the military of any blame or wrongdoing as well as declaring the IMN as an unlawful society. While the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the same government stated that massacre took place and the military did not abide by its laws of engagement or international laws of proportionality.
“It is unfortunate that within these difficult two years, the Islamic Movement has continued to be persecuted and denied our religious rights. This is very prominent in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Plateau and the Federal Capital, Abuja. It is sterner in some places more than in others.
“In the last two years, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has recorded remarkable successes. We stuck to the path of peaceful seeking of redress through the legal system. Last year Justice Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that the detention of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife is unconstitutional.
“This remarkable achievement has shown that it is the government that is violating the law and failure to obey the court judgment has meant that the government of Buhari has been committing illegalities.
“We demands remain as always the immediate release of Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife and all the hundreds being detained in various detention facilities across the country.
“Secondly, we demand that the corpses of all those killed, including those in the mass graves, must be exhumed and returned to us for identification and befitting burial according to Islamic rites.
“Thirdly, all our confiscated property must be returned to us and destroyed property adequately compensated for.
“Fourthly, we still demand an open, independent and impartial inquiry to unearth the truth. Such an inquiry must have as members, persons with credible character, and there must be full participation of internationally accepted human rights groups as observers. All those found to be responsible either in the planning or execution of these horrendous attacks must be brought to book, irrespective of their status.
“We call on the international community, especially the UN, EU, AU, ECOWAS and the ICC to add more pressure on the government to live up to its responsibilities as regards to the issue of the Islamic Movement in general and Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in particular or be prepared to be ostracized and convicted.”