Many members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiites were injured on Friday in Kaduna, Kaduna State, after they were tear-gassed by the police during a procession.
This was contained in a statement on Friday by the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa.
The statement said many of the IMN members were injured and arrested as the police fired on a peaceful International Quds Day procession “globally commemorated today in solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.”
The statement reads: “A large contingent of the police in battle gear had been threateningly patrolling the streets of Kaduna even before the commencement of the march.
“Hardly had the peaceful march started when the armed policemen opened fire without warning, with tear gas and live ammunition indiscriminately. This led to pandemonium on the busy streets of the central area.
“They were seen thereafter mounting roadblocks and emergency checkpoints and diverting traffic away from the central area.”
As of the time of filing this report, it was not clear how many people were injured or arrested as the police action had led to serious gridlock, inconveniencing road users.
Many people were overheard denouncing the action of the police, saying this was not the first Quds Day procession that would be held in Kaduna and wondering why the police would come out in full force to stop a peaceful protest.
The statement noted that this year’s Quds procession had been marked everywhere in the country peacefully except in Kaduna.
The Shiite movement had been outlawed by the state government since 2016 and so any procession held by the group is regarded as illegal.
The IMN members in Abuja, during their protest in the Federal Capital Territory, called on the Federal Government to sever ties with Israel, claiming that that country had been supporting Boko Haram insurgents.
The Shiites also recalled that Jerusalem, which is currently the capital of Israel, was taken away from Palestine.
Speaking on behalf of the IMN, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello Zaria said: “In this month, committed Muslims and non-Muslims do organise Quds rallies to highlight the Zionists’ continued illegal occupation of al-Masjid al-Aqsa.
“In 1979, Imam Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadan as Quds Day and called upon Muslims worldwide to hold rallies.
“Since then, here in Nigeria our leader, his Eminence, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) has been in the forefront organising these rallies. Today, Quds-Day rallies have become a global phenomenon. These rallies have become an important component of the committed Muslims struggle in Ramadan for truth and justice in a world dominated by oppression and illegality.
“Indeed the importance of Quds masjid and Palestine to Muslims cannot be over emphasised. It is the first qibla of the Muslims for worship and currently the third most important Masjid after the Haramain in Saudi Arabia.”