Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shi’ites on Monday in Abuja embarked on a peaceful protest to demand the release of international passport of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah.
The sect said the refusal by the Nigerian government to release their travel documents was aimed at further worsening their health condition.
IMN disclosed this in a statement signed on Monday by Mukhtar Abdurrahman Auwal
on behalf of the academic Forum of the movement.
IMN said the couple’s passports had been denied for almost nine months after the court discharged and acquitted them of eight counts charge bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of the public peace, among others.
The protesters who gathered in front of the National Human Rights Commission building called on the commission to prevail on the government and relevant security agencies to release the couple’s passports and allow them go for medical treatments abroad.
The sect also called on Nigerians and international community to hold President Muhammadu
Buhari responsible in case anything untoward befell their leader.
The statement noted that the movement would not fold its hands while the rights of its leader were being violated, adding that it would return to the streets until their demands were met.
The statement read in part, “It is pertinent the public notes that the freedom of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife is still being denied. Isn’t it such a flagrant abuse of their fundamental rights to life? General Buhari would definitely be held responsible for anything that befalls the couple; and certainly, we cannot afford to sit at home while the rights of our leader are being abused. After patiently waiting for nine months, we have no option than to return to the streets of Abuja, to protest this unholy conspiracy.
“In view of the foregoing, we demand for unconditional release of the couple’s international passports. The public are fully aware of the Zaria massacre executed from 12th to 14th December, 2015. It was an “all-out-war” to eliminate the Sheikh and dislodge the Islamic movement under his distinguished tutelage, “once and for all”.
“The Nigerian Army, under Buhari’s direct command, invaded the Husainiyyah along Sokoto road, the Dambo-film-village-farmyard-cum-martyrs’ graveyard and Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s Gyallesu residence, all in Zaria. They killed over 1000 followers of his, and set the house ablaze.
“Against all odds, the prime target, his wife and several other family members survived the arson and all that attack. Yet, no sooner had four soldiers “discovered” the whereabouts of the survivors in a laundry room than they started to rain bullets on them, instantly killing three of his sons, leaving the Sheikh and his wife “waiting to die” from the lethal gunshot wounds. But the duo are still alive with multiple health complications, very much in need of urgent medical attention.”