Despite last week’s police order restricting all protests in Abuja, the nation’s capital, to the Unity Fountain by the Nigeria Police Force, members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria have vowed to continue their daily protest until their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, is freed.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), had explained in a statement that the restriction was meant to ensure free flow of traffic and safety of lives and property.
The sect however said government and the police should get ready to kill more of its members as they would continue their protests. They said the police have no constitutional rights to restrict protesters to a particular point.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, a member of IMN, Abdullahi Musa, urged the public to disregard a recent statement by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, claiming that the fate of Zakzaky lies with the courts, not the Federal Government.
The group wondered how the Presidency made such a claim while it is on record that since December 2016, a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Kolawole, had freed Zakzaky and restored his fundamental human rights. It said the government refused to obey the court order.
Musa said: “Why is government hunting somebody that is out to fight for his or her right? You have killed more than a thousand of his (Zakzaky’s) followers and put them in a mass grave. You keep on violating the law of the land and you think nobody should come out and challenge you? That is bad. This shows that the government of is oppressing its citizens. And you do not expect me to cross my legs and allow President Muhammadu Buhari to kill my leader.
“They are looking for me to arrest me and I will say no to injustice. This will never stop us from achieving our aim. The worse this government can do to me is to kill me. When they kill me tomorrow, another Abdullahi will come up calling for justice. The protest will continue, and if they do not want to see us on the street, government should free our leader. If they want to kill, they should go ahead and kill. We are ready to die for our leader. Failure to free our leader, the government should get ready to kill more of us.
“The police should respect the law of the land. They have no backup from the constitution to disallow anybody from protesting and restricting people to Unity Fountain. The police should tell their masters to obey the court judgment and free our leader. The protests on the streets of Abuja are as a result of the government’s disregard for the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, the Federal High Court Abuja, which freed the revered leader of the movement from an illegal detention described 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, had not been ‘taken over’ by the adherents of the Islamic Movement. It is not possible under every logical reasoning to exonerate President Buhari from the genocide perpetrated by the Nigerian Army under his command as the Commander-in-Chief, where over 1,000 unarmed members of the movement, including men, women and children, were killed from December 12 to 14, 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. The movement has never been violent or taken over streets, as falsely claimed by the Presidency. The Islamic Movement has been in existence for about 40 years. It is on record that the movement has been peaceful and has never resorted to violence.
“It is only when government sends its police or Army to attack the peaceful processions that fracas sets in, courtesy of the security agents planted in the movement. We once again dissociate ourselves from any act of brigandage during our protests on the streets”.