A Kaduna High Court has discharged and acquitted about 100 members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise called Shiites, according to a statement signed by the President of the movement’s media forum, Ibrahim Musa, and distributed to newsmen in Kaduna on Tuesday.
While discharging and acquitting the IMN members, the court was quoted as saying, “This judgement has not only vindicated the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.”
The Islamic movement recalled that “the Kaduna state government sued almost close to 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the Movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 which led to the killing of over a thousand souls, including three sons of the Sheikh Zakzaky, his elder sister and a nephew.
“The attack was sequel to the unlawful invasion of the privacy of their residence and eventual destruction of the house completely. This has been aptly described by several human rights bodies as a massacre.
“To worsen these flagrant crimes against humanity, bodies of all the hundreds killed were hurriedly and secretly buried in mass graves about 100km away from the scene, apparently in a shoddy attempt at hiding the crime and its magnitude.”
The Shiites reiterated their call for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, adding that, “We are all aware of the crude tactics of the Kaduna state government led by El-Rufai all in his devilish plots at perpetuating the persecution against the Islamic Movement and the continued detention incommunicado of Sheikh Zakzaky and his ailing wife.
“In spite of previous court judgements ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting his fundamental rights and rights to liberty. With this victory in the court today, the false charges filed against them of aiding and abetting the culpable homicide has been punctured for good.
“We await the response of the Kaduna state government as Sheikh Zakzaky’s case comes up in the next two days. We expect them to respect the judgement of this honourable court and the course of justice to withdraw the fake charges against him and release him with immediate effect.
“As a peaceful Movement, we have kept to our clean tradition of seeking redress through peaceful means without any resort to violence despite deliberate and persistent provocations by the government.
“Today, Kaduna state government has again failed in court after a fair trial. We therefore give praises to the Almighty for yet another successful outing, which further proves to the world that the Movement and its leader are only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the El-Rufai-led government,” read part of the statement.
The IMN however expressed gratitude to those who stood by it throughout the trial, saying, “We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, human rights activists and organizations, journalists and all those that joined in our dogged campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless.”dp