From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), known as Shi’ite, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky was yesterday arraigned before a Kaduna High Court 4, amidst tight security.
This is just as the FCT Police Command has confirmed the arrest of 60 members of the Movement during a violent protest on Monday in Abuja.
Sheikh Zakzaky who was in the court in company of his wife as early as 8:30am was said to have been smuggled into Kaduna the previous night from where he is being kept.
Speaking to the media, Counsel to Zakzaky, Barrister Maxwell Kyom, said the cleric was being charged for unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide punishable with death.
Barrister Kyom said the case could not continue because two of the defendants were not in court.
He said an oral application was moved for the bail of the cleric and his wife, but the presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada asked him to put his application in writing.
Journalists and sympathizers of the Shi’ites leader trooped to the court premises but were barred from entering as the major road leading to the court was condoned off.
From the Yakubu Gowon Way by Bida road, two Hilux vans of Kaduna State security outfit ‘Operation Yaki’ blocked the road and pedestrians who were not staff of the high court were turned away.
A leader of the Shi’ite sect in Kaduna, Malam Abdulhameed Bello said, Sheikh Zakzaky was forcefully brought to Kaduna a night before the sitting.
According to him, members of the Movement were disappointed for his re-arraignment because in a substantive suit before an Abuja High Court, the court ruled that he should be released unconditionally.
Mallam Bello disclosed that Sheikh Zakzaky was almost losing his two eyes and suffering from diabetes and mild stroke.
“We call on the Federal and Kaduna State Governments to as a matter of urgency obey the judgment of the Abuja court and release the Sheikh for peace to reign.
“We, as a Movement, will continue to use all peaceful means to put pressure on the government to see reason and allow Sheikh Zakzaky to go home and attend to his deteriorating health,” he said.
The case was adjourned to June 21, 2018 by the presiding judge, Justice Gorada based on application by the prosecutor for them to properly file their statement of claim.
On the arrest of 60 Shi’ites, Police said the group defied warning from the police and staged the violent protest to demand the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been detention since 2016.
The spokesman of the police in the FCT, Anjuguri Manzah, a deputy superintendent of police, confirmed the arrest to journalists in an interview on Tuesday at the Garki Hospital.
Mr. Manzah was in the hospital to see how the two personnel of the command, who sustained varied degree of injuries while dispersing the protesters, were recuperating.
They are Linus Ogah, a superintendent of police, who had bruises on his face and could hardly speak or open his eyes, and Mary Ameh, an inspector, who sustained injury in one of her hands.
The spokesperson said that bullet had been removed from Ms Ameh’s hand, adding that the protesters also destroyed some police operational vehicles.
“During the Monday protest, members of IMN or otherwise known as Shiites engaged police and haul stones at police personnel deployed to disperse them.
“They also smashed some vehicle glasses parked around the Federal Secretariat,” he said.
On April 16, the police had arrested 115 members of the sect when they embarked on a similar violent protest to demand that their leader be freed.
Mr. Manzah, who said that though citizens had right to protest, advised that they should do that in a “civil manner’’ and not disturb public peace.
He said that the command had taken proactive measures to check violent protest in the territory.