Shiites protests must continue, El-Zakzaky’s daughter insists

El-Zakzaky
El-Zakzaky

There is palpable tension in the fold of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites, as daughter of leader of detained leader of the group, Suhaila Zakzaky, has vowed to continue their street protesters till her father is released.

Suhaila spoke, yesterday, in reaction to a statement from Ibrahim Musa, president of the IMN media forum, that the protests have been suspended as a result of “some new openings into the resolution of the problems” involving the proscription of its activities.

Musa had said the truce on street protests, which came after the Federal Government declared the group a terrorist organisation following the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, was as a result of “some new openings into the resolution of the problems” involving the proscription of its activities.

The announcement came a week after Federal Government and security forces proclaimed the IMN a terrorist organisation and vowed to treat its members as enemy of the state.

But reacting via a video she released on Wednesday, Suhaila said Musa cannot speak on behalf of the group.

She said his comments were not the official view of the Islamic movement and that the protests would continue.

“Even as I speak right now, earlier today, there was a protest in Abuja and there will be tomorrow.

“And there will continue to be on every weekday. I just wanted to clarify because I saw news agencies stating that spokesperson of this movement released the statement.

“First of all, the Islamic movement has no such thing as a spokesman. And the person who wrote this article (is) the chairman of the media forum; the media forum, just like the numerous forums we have in the Islamic movement, is just a forum that is there for people within that field to have their own space and activities within the Islamic movement.”

She cautioned against “frustrating” the efforts of the protests, adding: “This person (Musa) has nothing to do with the people organising this protest that have been going on in Abuja and will continue to go on till El-Zakzaky is freed.”

The IMN members have been protesting the continued detention of El-Zakzaky who was arrested after the group clashed with a convoy of the chief of army staff in Kaduna state in 2015.

Governmment descended on the sect following a violent protest that claimed the life of a deputy commissioner of police, a member of the National Youth service Corps and at least 10 Shi’ite members in Abuja.

Defending the clampdown, government said: “Proscription of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has nothing to do with banning the larger numbers of peaceful and law abiding Shi’ites in the country from practising their religion, instead it was to discourage wanton violence, murder and wilful destruction of public and private property,” the presidency said in a statement.

“The banned organisation was taken over by extremists who didn’t believe in peaceful protests and instead employed violence and arson, driving fear and undermining the rights of others and constituted authority.”

“The government had to act before the situation goes out of control,” it said.

Zakzaky was detained in December 2015 after violence during a religious procession. Rights groups say some 350 mostly unarmed Shiite marchers were killed by the Nigerian army.

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