El-Zakzaky Supporters protest in Abuja for cleric's release

The group marched to the office of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to express their grievance.

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Ibrahim El-Zakzaky play

National Leader of Shi'ite movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

(Premium Times)
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Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) marched in protest in Abuja on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, demanding the release of spiritual leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The group marched to the office of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to express their grievance with the continued incarceration of El-Zakzaky who has been in custody since December 2015.

Speaking at the protest,  Dr. Memuna Useni, a lecturer of Criminology at Bayero University, criticised the Federal Government's disregard for the court ruling that had ordered the cleric's release.

She said, "On this basis, the sister's forum hereby calls on the Human Rights Commission in Nigeria and worldwide to actively facilitate the immediate release of Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

"He is an icon of justice and we will continue to be a role model to all those human being who believe in human justice, morality and inter religious tolerance."

Shiite protesters in the Nigerian city of Kano, pictured in August 2016, demand the release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, whose recent legal suit against the Nigerian military for human rights violations has been rejected by a court in Kano play Protesters, pictured in August 2016, demanding the release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky (AFP/File)

 

While speaking on Channels TV on June 15, 2017, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, revealed that the cleric is actually living with his family in a house provided by the Federal Government for his own benefit.

He said, "How many Nigerians know that El Zakzaky is actually not in prison custody nor police custody nor DSS custody? El-Zakzaky is in a house with his family, this is the honest truth."

Addressing the government's rejection of court orders to release the cleric, the minister said the government is merely keeping him in protective custody because "nobody wants to accept him as a neighbour".

He also defended the government's action on defying the court order, saying, "If a judgment is given and that judgment is appealed, you cannot accuse the government of violating a court order if the appeal has not been decided."

ALSO READ: El-Zakzaky is 'actually not in prison' - Lai Mohammed

The 64-year-old cleric has been in custody for nearly two years after the Nigerian Army raided his residence in Zaria and killed hundreds of his followers, including three of his sons.

This was a direct consequence of his followers' clash with the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai.

This was after Justice Gabriel Kolawole had ordered for his release on December 2, 2016, ruling that the government's justification of "holding him for his own protection" is insufficient.

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