Business activities are on a standstill within Kaduna metropolis as the trial of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, resumes at the State High Court.
Most of the shops along the usually busy Ahmadu Bello way were shutdown as shop owners stayed away while others remained at home over fears of a possible outbreak of violence.
Banks and filling stations along the Ahmadu Bello Way were all closed, with customers forced to turn back, while staff and private guards watched events from a distance.
Our reporter noted that some shop owners were seen along the busy Katsina Road Roundabout standing in groups lamenting over the situation.
Pedestrians were also seen walking to their workplaces earlier in the day.
Security beefed up
There were heavily armed policemen on the streets and roundabouts around the area, with their vehicles on standby.
Police diverted commercial buses and private vehicles were diverted to other routes far from the court. The popular Roundabout was also taken over by police officers, who stationed their vehicles along the road.
“We are tired of this issue. Everytime, the road will be taken over by security agencies without informing the residents. This is unfair,” an elderly resident said, while trekking along Katsina road.
Mr El-zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, are facing an eight-count charge of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among others.
The charges are instituted by the Kaduna State government.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that last week, members of the nation’s House of Representatives called on the Nigerian government to release Mr El-Zakzaky, in accordance with several court rulings.
The House made this call while adopting a motion by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.
The lawmakers said the IMN members, who have been protesting their leader’s continued detention, could wreak more havoc.
Mr El-Zakzaky was arrested in December 2015 after Nigerian soldiers killed about 347 of his supporters during a clash in Zaria, Kaduna State. The soldiers had accused the Shiite group of blocking a major road that was to be used by army chief Tukur Buratai.
That massacre of the Shiites has been condemned by local and international rights groups.