Again, Shiite widows, orphans, protest El-Zakzaky endless detention … without Police knowledge
Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) (aka Shiites), Wednesday embarked on yet another peace protest against what it described as continuous detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The protesters, mostly teenagers, claiming to be orphans and widows of the sect, took to the streets of Kaduna to protest the absence of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, in the past eight months.
The old and young sect members, who were allegedly en-route from Zaria-Abuja on foot, stormed the Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ in Kaduna carrying banners with different inscriptions and chanting songs – “Free our leader,” “Free El-Zakzaky,” “He needs medical treatment,” among others.
Abdullahi Mohammed, the spokesperson of the protesters, told journalists that their matching on the streets of Kaduna is in connection with continuous detention of their leader in the custody of Directorate of Security Service (DSS) since December, 2015 bloody clash between the IMN members and men of Nigerian Army that left hundreds dead in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Also speaking, a young woman, who alleged to be speaking on behalf of a Zaria-based nongovernmental organization, AbdulFadI Foundation, Fauziya Saidu, said the protest would continue until their leader is released, unconditionally, to avail him the opportunity to seek good medical treatment.
She alleged that military personnel along Zaria-Kaduna Road took several shots and photographed protesters on their way to Kaduna, the purpose of which they said they don’t know, but quickly to add that no amount of intimidation from Army could stop them from marching to Abuja and remain in the place until El-Zakzaky, wife and other members of the sect are released from DSS custody.
According to her, “Most of us here are widows and orphans. We are only demanding that our leader is released for medical treatment. We will continue this match to Abuja and we will not leave until our Sheikh, his wife and others are released.”
However, in an unusual twist, the DSS claimed that Sheikh Zakzaky is in ‘protective custody because he is a vulnerable individual,’ which the DSS claimed it’s their duty to keep him safe. “Although our leader and his wife are not being held in a prison cell, they are certainly not living in a comfortable state, nor are they safe. His health, specifically the health of his last remaining eye, is already half blind.
“We call on those, who believe in the adorable right of all human beings to fairness, justice and dignity, to help by joining us in redoubled efforts. We must act before it is too late. Seriously, our leader needs access to doctors now.
“If they are really protecting our leader as their lawyers have claimed, then we would want to ask them what form of threat is the visit of family members, doctors, considering the impending and dangerous situation threatening to turn him blind; why are no doctors allowed?” she asked.
Contacted, Police spokesperson in Kaduna, ASP Aliyu Usman, said that the police is not aware of the protest, adding that the protesters did not write them either.