According to reports, the Nigeria Police yesterday mounted barricades and fired tear gas to stop protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, otherwise called Shiite.
The sect took to the streets of Abuja yesterday on a peaceful protest to demand the release of its leader, Ibrahim El- Zakzaky who has been in detention since their December, 2015 clash with the army in Zarai, Kaduna state.
The placards carrying Shiite members who defied police barricade mounted to stop the apparently peaceful protest chanted “Free our Leader El-ZakZaky, Even if we are going to die we will not stop,” as they protested.
Some of the protesting Shiite members were, however, said to have been arrested by the police while some others were injured.
Recall that the Zaria clash led to the death and burial of 300 members of the Shiite group in a bloodbath that has been condemned by local and international rights groups.
Conflicting reasons have been deduced for the deaths which followed the clash and the continued detention of El- Zakzaky.
While the soldiers said the Shiite members blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and tried to kill him, the sect has debunked the claim.
A panel set up by the Kaduna state government indicted the military for the massacre but condemned the Shiite group for allegedly creating a government unto itself within the state.
Meanwhile, Wednesday, the National Human Rights Commission, indicted members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), for blocking the Zaria Kaduna highway which led to a violent clash with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen Tukur Buratai in December last year.
The Commission while releasing a report of the Special Investigation Panel it set up to probe the incident following a petition it received from the military authorities, said the IMN members who are also called Shi’ite group, should apologise to the army and all Nigerians for violating their right to free movement.
Presenting the draft report to the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, yesterday, the Chairman of the panel, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, urged the Federal Government to quickly arraign detained members of the sect for various violations and offences.
Similarly, the report recommended the prosecution of Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in line with the 1999 constitution of the federation.