Shiites ‘Bask In Glory Of Zakzaky’s Release,’ Hold Procession In Abuja
Shiite Muslims in Nigeria on Thursday held their annual religious procession popularly known as ‘Ashura’.
For Shiites, Ashura is a time of mourning to mark the day of the Battle of Karbala in Iraq.
Despite a ban on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), which is the Shiites’ umbrella body in Nigeria, the group marched through the streets of Abuja to mark the day.
The Nigerian Government banned the group after a protest they held in 2019 for the release of their leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, from custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) resulted in the death of 11 Shiite members, a journalist, and a police officer on
A statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had accused the group of running “terrorist activities, including attacking soldiers, killing policemen, destroying public property and consistently defying state authority.”
After six years in detention, the Kaduna State High Court recently ordered the release of the group’s leader.
In a statement released on Thursday by IMN’s secretary, Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, the group demanded the release of Zakzaky’s passport to enable he and his wife travel abroad for medical treatment.
Part of the statement reads “…we are grateful to Allah (T) for granting relief to our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Mu’allima Zeenah Ibrahim, when on July 28, 2021 Kaduna state high court discharged and acquitted them from the spurious charges they were tried for over three years. And unlike last year, since the beginning of this month when the Ashura mourning sessions started in over 250 cities and villages over the country, there has not been any report of intimidation and attack on the mourners. We hope our antagonists in government have come to the realization that molestation and persecution cannot suppress a righteous Movement in the long run, but rather strengthen it.
“Nonetheless, as we bask in the glory of the release of our leader, we will like to draw the attention of well-meaning Nigerians and the international community on the delay tactics of the federal government in releasing his passport and that of his wife, that will facilitate their journey abroad for the proper treatment of the wounds they sustained during the military attack on their residence in December, 2015. Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are now free citizens, why should their passports be withheld? Lest we forget, in 2018 Even a Kaduna state high court granted them medical leave to visit India to regain their daily deteriorating health condition, but the government botched up that medical trip. And now their passport has not been released to them, even though they are still in dire need of medical attention.
“As we mourn Ashura, we urge the federal government to release the passports of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife and also release hundreds of others still in detention since December 2015 and restore the fundamental human rights of Muslim brothers and sisters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.”