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Shiites condemn disruption of protest by police in Abuja




Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites have condemned the police and other security agencies for disrupting their protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over the continued detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

Thousands of IMN members converged on Abuja last week to protest against the continued detention of El-Zakzaky. The group said the action by the security agencies was a breach of their fundamental freedom.

The spokesman of the group, Mallam Ibrahim Musa said they would continue to agitate for the release of their leader through regular protests.

According to him: “About a hundred arrests were made when the army mounted road blocks to prevent people from entering Abuja for the protest. Many of our members, including women and children were taken to the military barracks.

“The thousands who struggled to enter Abuja for the peaceful march were physically assaulted by the police while attempting to prevent the protest for no just cause.

“They fired tear gas and live bullets as well to disrupt the march. Many people were injured and more were arrested and are being detained.”

Musa added: “Our right to free movement is inalienable and we wish to remind the Nigerian security agents of the fundamental right of people to assemble peacefully and demonstrate without any harassment. If at all they are in doubt or have forgotten, they should consult their lawyers since Nigerian courts have upheld this position.”

The group’s spokesman stressed further: “The peaceful protest was aimed at drawing public attention to the plight of our leader, his wife and hundreds of other IMN members who have remained unjustifiably in detention for more than nine months.

“We, therefore call on the international community, as a matter of urgency to impose sanctions, travel bans and freezing of foreign accounts of top political, military and security men who have featured prominently in the abuse of rights of the citizens such as the Zaria massacre of December 2015, arbitrary arrests, detention without charges and denial of medical attention to detainees.

“The global community should also put pressure on the government for the immediate release of El-Zakzaky to receive urgent medical attention.”

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