NIGERIA : Army opens fire on Sheikh Zakzaky supporters

2021-01-26 20:12:09

Two people have been martyred after Nigerian police used live ammunition to disperse protesters demanding the release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky in the country’s state of Abuja.

The protest rally was being held on Monday against Sheikh Zakzaky's arrest and trial. Those attending the protests called for the immediate and unconditional release of Zakzaky, who is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), presstv reported.

Peaceful protests broke out yesterday in response to the revelation that Mallimah Zeenah had contracted Covid-19 whilst in police custody. They continued into today as the Kaduna State Court adjourned the trial of the couple until March.

The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) entered the plea with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, reminding the illegal grounds on which the duo were being kept.

“Mallimah Zeenah tested positive for COVID-19 this week in Kaduna state prison,” the body said, referring respectively to Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky’s spouse and the facility in the Northwestern city of Kaduna, where they were incarcerated. The release, it added, was necessary “to protect them from the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s jails”.

In 2016 the federal high court, the highest court in the country, ruled that the pair’s detention was unlawful and unconstitutional and ordered the Nigerian government to release them by January 16, 2017 and pay compensation. However, that ruling has never been enforced. Instead, perversely, state authorities in Kaduna decided to prosecute the pair in 2018.

Their continued detention with repeated court adjournments even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic ripping through the country’s prisons forms part of a process of ongoing maltreatment. It reinforces the view that Nigerian authorities are abusing the judicial system to keep the couple jailed in the hope that they will die quietly in custody.

The violence imposed out against the supporters of the Islamic Movement now, as it was back in 2015, is part of the same process of trying to force the movement out of existence.

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