By Luminous Jannamike
Abuja — The members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, have said the whereabouts of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zainab, is yet to be ascertained.
The El-Zakzaky’s were on Tuesday taken from DSS custody in Abuja to Kaduna and arraigned before a state High Court on charges of culpable homicide and unlawful assembly.
They were reportedly brought back to Abuja same day to continue in detention under the DSS as directed by the Court.
However, as at 5pm on Thursday, members of the sect in Abuja told our correspondent that they have not been able to establish contact with El-Zakzaky since he was taken to Kaduna and supposedly brought back to the FCT.
At the sidelines of a #FreeZakzaky protest staged, on Wednesday evening, along Nyanya/Mararaba axis lnear the Abuja-Nasarawa border, the Secretary of IMN’s Academic Forum, Mallam Abdullahi Musa, told Vanguard: “To be frank, recent developments by the Nigerian government under the leadership of President Buhari makes many conscious Nigerians and human right activists globally to wonder if Sheikh Zakzaky is wanted dead.
“Since, our leader was taken to Kaduna and reportedly brought back to Abuja, we have not been able to establish contact with him. All his phone numbers have remained switched-off.
“We were informed this morning, that he is also not at the DSS custody in Abuja. As it stand today, we cannot tell his whereabouts, and we want the alert the world about this.”
Also on Monday an Abuja magistrate court sitting in Wuse Zone 6, dismissed of a case involving 48 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, who were charged with alleged breach of public peace and other sundry offences.
Members of the sect otherwise known as Shi’ites have been staging protests in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to press home their demand for the release of their incarcerated leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been in DSS custody since December, 2015.
Recently, the protests have ended in face offs between the group and men of the FCT police command; leading to arrests of several Shi’ites and their subsequent arraignment in court.
At a resumed hearing of a case involving the Commissioner of Police Vs Sani Aliyu & 47 others, the prosecution team was not in court to prove its case; prompting the defendants to ask the court to strike out the matter for lack of diligent prosecution, relying on section 351 of Administration Of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The court duly struck out the case and discharged all those standing trial therein.
Shiites, Police resume hostilities
In another development, A Divisional Crime Officer of the Nigerian Police attached to the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, was injured, yesterday, following a clash between the police and El-Zakzaky supporters.
The officer, simply identified as Linus, was injured in the face when men of the Nigeria Police Force and adherents of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiites, clashed following the denial of the group to undertake a protest rally against the continuing detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, by the federal government.
This was after he called for reinforcement to disperse group.
The Shiite members, numbering above 300 and armed with stones and sticks, converged around the popular Eagle Square around to continue their protest for the release of their detained leader.
However, law enforcement agents approached to disperse them but the group became hostile and started throwing stones at the police who responded with tear-gas and water cannons. In the scuffle, two police vehicles were vandalised, one of them bore license number: NPF246-7C.
Chanting “free El-Zakzaky,” the group chased away the police team from the scene and proceeded to overturn a traffic warden’s cabin on the road.
The actions of the group caused tension among workers, traders motorists and others who were around the Federal Secretariat causing them to scamper for safety in different directions..
A team of policemen who later arrived the scene of the incident arrested no fewer than four members of the sect
Speaking to Vanguard on the renewed hostilities, the Chairman of the “Free Zakzaky” campaign committee of IMN, Mallam Abubakar Yola, sought to justify the sect’s hostile reaction towards the police, saying: “We were first to be attacked while exercising our basic right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
“Our protest have always been peaceful. We are a non-violent group. All the protests we gave embarked upon without police hostilities have always ended in peace without injuries to any or, loss of lives and properties.”
He further reaffirmed the group’s resolve to continue its protests for the release of El-Zakzaky in spite the daunting challenges.