There was palpable tension yesterday in Abuja following the clash between police men and protesting Shiite Moslems, also known as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). The group was said to have commenced a peaceful protest march from the premises of the Federal High Court, after a judge dismissed a case filed by Federal Government’s agents to justify the decision to withhold the international passports of IMN leaders, Sheikh Ibrahim El’Zakzakky and his wife, almost two years after being discharged and acquitted by the court.
Recall that the Kaduna High Court had on July 28, 2021 discharged and acquitted Sheikh Ibrahim El’Zakzakky and his wife of culpable homicide, disruption of public peace and unlawful assembly in a charge brought against them by Kaduna State Government. Confirming the protest, Abdullahi Musa, the Secretary, Academic Forum of Islamic Movement of Nigeria alleged that the police attacked the peaceful protesters with tear gas and sporadic shooting, which affected eight of their members, leaving two in critical conditions.
Musa vowed that the protest would be sustained in Abuja until all relevant government agencies obey court orders to release the international passports of the Sheikh and his wife or allow Nigerian Immigration to issue new ones to them. He also alleged that all the government agencies involved in the matter were conniving to deny the Sheikh and his wife their right of having an international passports and also travelling for adequate medical attention. He further stated that all the matters the government instituted against the Sheikh had been thrown out by courts, and yet the hate and conspiracy against them and their followers have continued unabated. He said: “We protested from the Federal High Court to the Federal Secretariat, and while we were about dispersing the police came and started shooting and throwing tear gas at us. Eight people were shot and two people are in critical condition. “The protest will continue until they remove the travel ban and give Sheikh his passports. If they like, let them continue shooting.”