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Supporters of Shi’ite Muslim leader, Zakzaky protest his detention

By Isa Kajuru, Kaduna 

Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shi’ites who claimed to be orphans and widows on Wednesdaytook to streets of Kaduna to protest eight months of detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.Leader of the protesters, Mallam Abdullahi Mohammed said the protest was to condemn 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 of their members dead in Zaria. 

Speaking on behalf of the women, another member, Hajia Fauziya Saidu, said the protest will continue until their leader is released unconditionally to avail him the opportunity to seek proper medical treatment. 

She alleged that military personnel along Zaria-Kaduna road were busy taking their photographs on their way to Kaduna the purpose of which they said they don’t know, quickly added that no amount of intimidation from Army can stop them from marching to Abuja and remain there 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 be 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. 

“Prior to that in an unusual twist, the DSS claimed that Sheikh Zakzaky, is being kept in ‘protective custody because he is a vulnerable individual’ which the DSS claimed it is 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’. 

“Then there is his health, specifically the health of his last remaining eye, which is already half blind. 

“We want to call on those who believe in the adorable right of all human beings to fairness, justice and dignity, to help by joining us in a 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. 

Several groups of the Shi’ites movement have been protesting almost on a daily basis since two weeks ago.

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