Chairman, Free Zazkazy Campaign Committee, Abdurahaman Abubakar Yola tells Pulse that they won't stop protesting "despite Police attack".
The Police had attacked Shiite protesters who were demanding the release of their leader in Maitama, Abuja in Monday.
Monday’s attack is one of many clashes between the Shiites and men of the Nigerian Police since El-Zakzaky’s arrest and detention.
A member of the group was reportedly killed, several wounded while 115 were arrested.
But, in a telephone interview with Pulse, Yola said the attack and clashes between them and the Police would not deter the group from ‘exercising their constitutional rights’.
“About a hundred days ago, the health condition of has deteriorated,” Yola said. “He had a mild stroke and when we found out, we embarked on series of protests to push for his immediate release.
“Already, a competent law had ruled that the Sheikh should be released and within forty-five days, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation as well as the DSS who are keeping him custody should provide a descent accommodation for him within this period. The Police was also directed to provide the Sheikh protection.
"That protection should not hinder the interpersonal relationship between the sheik and his family or well-wishers. Not from DSS custody to that of the Police. And almost one year and four months now, the government has not obeyed that court order.
“On Monday, we decided to hold a protest at the National Human Rights Commission to complain to the authorities that the Police has violated our rights by not allowing us sit at the Unity Fountain.
“While we were there, the Police came with their hot water cannons, cordoned the area and started throwing teargas canisters, pouring hot water on those in front of the NHRC. One of our members was killed as a result of the injuries he received because his skull got broken and over one hundred of our members were arrested by the Police.
“Until he is released, we will keep protesting and taking legal means for his release. They did not give any reason for his detention; they said ‘protective custody’ which is alien to the constitution of Nigeria. Maybe they are just keeping him for their own selfish interest,” he added.
Yola maintained that they had, through their counsel, written several letters to the President, Nigeria Bar Association against the Attorney General of the Federation “for not complying with the court judgement”, and the NHRC.
“Right now, we will continue our peaceful protest to press home our demand for the immediate and unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, his wife and all those detained as a result of the Zaria Massacre which was carried out by the Nigerian Army. They came and leveled the house of our sheikh with the intent to kill him and now, his health condition is deteriorating day by day. We want him to have medical attention of his own choice,” Yola added.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had denied claims that the Islamic Movement leader was in detention.
Information minister, Lai Mohammed said 'El-Zakzaky is in a house with his family members.'
"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", the minister announced.
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".
The minister said, "The court ruled that he will be released after his house has been rebuilt. Nobody wants to accept El-Zakzaky as a neighbor. So we have been able to build a house, where do we release him to."
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," Mohammed added.