Police disperse Shiite protesters demanding release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky

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SHAFAQNA – Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria on Thursday staged another protest in Kaduna, calling on the Acting President Prof Yemi Osinbajo to obey a court order and release their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

Meanwhile, men of the Nigeria Police who were obviously on alert quickly moved to the scene and dispersed the protesters.

The Kaduna State Government had banned protest in the state considering the security challenges in the state.

The protesters carrying posters of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky with inscriptions “freeZakzaky” on them called on the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to set a good precedence by obeying the court order in his position as a professor and a SAN by releasing Zakzaky.

The leader of the protesters, Sheikh Qasim Umar, in his speech quickly delivered before the arrival of the police, said the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is the most oppressed community in recent Nigerian history.

According to him, “Within 48 hours the Nigerian army massacred over 1000 unarmed civilians in Zaria in December 2015. Where in the annals of Nigerian history has such a tragedy taken place, without the leadership of the country battling an eyelid of concern?

“The atrocities committed by the Army are the first of its kind by any national and supposedly well-trained army. Where in the world are soldiers seen burning people alive? But they burnt the senior Sister to Sheikh Zakzaky and several others alive. Where in the world are soldiers videotaped pouring petrol on corpses and burning them? They burnt hundreds in Zaria, which is why probably the Kaduna state government was only able to document the death of 347 people at the hands of the Nigerian Army. Where in the world are soldiers involved in burying hundreds of people in a mass grave in the middle of the night, if not in Mando, Kaduna under the full consent of the state Governor?

“To date, over 200 members of the Islamic Movement are known to be languishing in jail, some with various degrees of gunshots, yet the perpetrators of the violence against them are moving about freely as if nothing untoward has happened. And there are some hundreds still believed to be in secret detention centres of the security services since they have gone missing after the Zaria massacre.

“Not only that, he Kaduna Sate Governor has the temerity to even declare that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as an unlawful society, after all the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of religion and association. Now under such an obnoxious state dozens of others are in jail simply because they were arrested in a black attire, allegedly worn only by the Shias.

“The most intriguing aspect of the oppression visited upon us is the continued detention of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, even after a Federal High Court order to release them. Where in the world is a democratic government contemptuous of its courts if not the present administration in Nigeria?

“The above reasons and many more that space will not allow us to mention will definitely make us pour on to the streets peacefully to demand justice. This is our right, and nobody will deny us this right. We call on the general public and the international community to bear witness to this calamitous oppression against us as a community. Zaria massacre and its after effects in other states can’t be pushed under the carpet because there are many thousands living witnesses to it.

“We, therefore, will like to draw the attention of the present Acting President to the court order on the release of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife. As a Professor of law, we hope he will use his good office to terminate the flagrant disregard to the court order displayed by the ailing President,” he said.

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