Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shi’ite, on Wednesday, continued their display of resilience, in demand for the unconditional release of their detained spiritual leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, who have been in detention since 2015.
The IMN members repeatedly clashed with security officials at different parts of Abuja and other northern states last year resulting in the destruction of public facilities and loss of lives.
But in spite of brutal attacks by police and soldiers, they were relentless in their demand for the unconditional release of their spiritual leader and his wife.
However, the protesters who were mostly young people dressed in their usual black dresses with hand bands, restricted their actions to the Asokoro district of Abuja, unlike in the past when they took the battle to the three arms zone, Unity Fountain, Wuse and Berger.
They chanted solidarity and freedom songs, calling President Muhammadu Buhari and some government officials unprintable names.Surprisingly, neither policemen nor military officers interrupted the protest and that could be responsible for the peaceful nature of the protest.
The activities of the Shi’ite members at the popular and busy AYA roundabout in Asokoro, forced commuters and motorists to spend extra time on the traffic trying to make their way to their destination, even as some members dressed in reflective jackets helped to control the traffic.Other motorists with prior notice of the event were forced to use alternative routes to avoid ant clash with the protesters, who they said, could go violent at any slight provocation.
With placards bearing different inscriptions, the protesters marched to ECOWAS headquarters located a few meters away from the AYA roundabout, apparently soliciting the intervention of the regional body in the freedom of their detained spiritual leader and his wife.