Speak on El-Zakzaky’s release, Shiites protest to National Assembly

By Evelyn Okakwu

December 01, 2016

Members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, on Thursday stormed the National Assembly to protest the continued detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

Mr. El-Zakzaky was arrested in December after over 300 members of his group were killed for blocking a road in Kaduna. The soldiers also accused the IMN members of plotting to kill the army chief, Tukur Buratai, although no evidence was provided for that and the IMN denied the allegation.

An application for Mr. El-Zakzaky’s bail by his lawyer  Femi Falana, is expected to be determined by an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Friday.

The protesters led by the secretary of the academic forum in Nigeria, Abdullahi Musa, said they had gathered to know the position of the Senate regarding the continued detention of their leader.

“This is the third time we are coming here. We submitted a lot of documents to the National Assembly but we are yet to get any response.

“We submitted the third batch of documents yesterday and we came here today to hear from them,” said Mr. Musa.

He said although government had said they were keeping Mr. El-Zakzaky in protective custody, no member of the movement believed he is being protected.

“We do not believe in the so called protective custody. We want him freed so that he can go for his treatment. They have inflicted several injuries on him. What we ask for is that justice prevails,” he said.

Mr. Musa said they were at the National Assembly to know what the Senate would do and if government plans any action regarding their members who he said were killed by security operatives during peaceful protests across the country.

“They killed our member and government has been silent. We want to know what their position is,” said Mr. Musa.

At least eight members of the movement were confirmed dead in Kano, alongside a police sergeant on November 14 after police officers tried to stop the IMN protesters.

The Divisional Crimes Officer at the National Assembly; Frances Anebi, addressed the protesters, urging them to remain calm.