Following a recent statement attributed to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, defending the unpopular stance of the Federal Government on the continued illegal detention of the revered leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), where he falsely and mischievously purported the Movement as violent to sway public sympathy to the government, we wish to state as follows:
That the protests on the streets of Abuja are as a result of the government’s disregard to the judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction, the Federal High Court Abuja, which freed the revered leader of the Movement from an illegal detention insinuated by the government as ‘Protective Custody’. At least before the Zaria massacre of 2015, the streets of Abuja that are more of concern to the government than the lives of its citizens has not been ‘taken over’ by the adherents of the Islamic Movement.
That it is not possible under every logical reasoning to exonerate President Muhammadu Buhari from the genocide perpetrated by the Nigerian Army under his command as Commander-in-Chief, where over 1000 unarmed members of the Movement including men, women and children were killed on 12th-14th of December 2015. The government has declared illegally burying 347 members of the movement in a mass grave at Mando Village in Kaduna after the mass murder, in violation of the Geneva Convention, and every known law in the country.
That the government has refused to abide by the report of Judicial Commission of Inquiry calling for the arrest and prosecution of soldiers that perpetrated the killing of peaceful members of the movement in Zaria.
That in December 2016 the Federal High Court in Abuja has freed Sheikh Zakzaky from the illegal detention, ordered that he, along with his wife, be compensated to the tune of N50m, a house be provided for him in any part of the country he desires and security be provided for his protection. The Buhari government deliberately acted in contempt of court and refused to respect the judiciary. So which court is the presidency talking about that will decide the fate of our leader?
That the government mischievously concocted a new case in Kaduna, three years after the Zaria massacre, accusing the leader of the movement whose wife was shot, three children were killed, elder sister and nephew were burned alive and he was also shot severally, of abetting homicide. This was followed by a case in which over 100 members of the movement were freed by the High Court in Kaduna with a ‘No Case Submission’ implying that the case was only a mischief of keeping the revered leader in illegal detention.
That the Buhari led government deliberately intends to instigate the Movement into violence through all its actions that include the Zaria massacre, and deliberate killing of peaceful protesters on the streets of Abuja by the presidential guards, the Brigade of Guards but the Movement continued to seek redress through all available, civil and peaceful means.
The movement has never been violent or taken over streets as falsely claimed by the presidency. The Islamic Movement’s existence of about forty years, have it on record that the Movement has been peaceful and has never resorted to violence. It is only when government sends it’s Police or Army to attack the always peaceful processions that fracas set in courtesy of the security agents planted in the Movement. We once again dissociate ourselves from any acts of brigandage during our protests on the streets.
The impunity displayed by the government as regards the leader of the movement is with the intention of intimidating its victims who have lost parents, spouses and friends to the extra judicial killings by the Buhari regime. Yet they have remained peaceful and consistent in seeking redress.
That the entire issue was instigated by the lack of foresight, lack of positive political will and lack of honesty by the Buhari led government which joined hands with Saudi Arabian authorities to kill Nigerian citizens simply because they don’t share the same religious school of thought with them in order to please them.
We therefore call on the Nigerian government to stop deceiving the public by trying to paint itself as Saint in a place its actions are worse than those of the devil. The government should simply obey the court judgement, free the revered Sheikh and stop further fake cases in courts with the deliberate intention of keeping him in detention.
The continued detention of the revered Sheikh despite his deteriorating health condition is only an act of torture and waiting for his death with the intention of instigating widespread violence in the country using the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. To prove this wrong, the government should Free Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
PRESIDENT, MEDIA FORUM OF ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA