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Shiites protest: Police arrest 52 suspects in Abuja

*Petrol bombs, stones, catapult recovered

Hundred of members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria otherwise known as Shiites Wednesday morning took to the major roads in the nation’s capital city of Abuja to protested the continued detention of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Shiite protesters in Abuja on Wednesday
Shiite protesters in Abuja on Wednesday

The protesters who included women, boys, men and youths marched along the crowded axis of Abuja from Areas 1 through 2 and 3 before the Nigeria Police dislodged the protesters with teargas.

Speaking to www.gongnews.net after an initial assault at the scene of the protest, Mallam Abdullahi Mohammed Musa, who said he is the Coordinator of the movement said that the members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria decided to protest against injustice which is the continued detention of their spiritual leader, Sheik Ibrahim  El-Zak Zaky represent by the Nigerian government and according to the report they got, their leader is terribly sick and he needed medical treatment.

“We are protesting the illegal detention of our leader. The Sheik has been suffering from serous medical ailment due to the gun shot wound he sustained in 2015. We heard that he is seriously down now. His blood pressure is very high, he cannot move, talk, eat and even pray, ” Musa said.

Shiite protesters in Abuja...went violent. 52 arrested by Police
Shiite protesters in Abuja…went violent. 52 arrested by Police

Release him on compassionate ground: “We are having a peaceful protest so that the government will free our leader. We protested last Saturday in Kaduna where we lost three of our members to live bullet shots from the guns of the Nigeria Police and we have still protesting in Abuja.

“The court gave a judgement that our leader should be released, but the government of President Muhammadu Buhari refused to obey the court for more than one year after the court gave its judgement, ” he said.

“What type of democracy is this in Nigeria? We are worried that the situation of our leader’s health is worsening. Sheik Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky is seriously ill. He cannot talk, eat, move and say his prayers for five days now, but the government is doing nothing to release him at least on compassionate ground due to his ill health, ” he begged.

Police reaction: However, the FCT Command of the Police issued a statement signed by DSP Anjuguri Manzah the Police Public Relations Officer, we reproduce the statement verbatim and unedited below:

“Following the violent protest by members of the El-Zakzaky Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) group who went on rampage and were attacking innocent citizens including Police operatives on Wednesday 10th January, 2018, the FCT Police Command has arrested some members of the sect and recovered some bottles of improvised petrol-bomb, stones and catapult used by members of the sect to attack police operatives and damage police operational vehicles.

  1. It is pertinent to state that the unlawful action of members of the sect which started on Monday 8thJanuary, 2018 is constituting a serious security threat to the peace of the Federal Capital Territory and at the same time disrupting innocent citizens from going about their lawful businesses.
  2. In view of the current security situation in the country, the Command wishes to unequivocally state that while it will continue to be professional in the discharge of its constitutional and statutory roles of the protection of lives and property of the good people of FCT and equally recognise the rights of citizens to express their lawful grievances, the Command will not fold its arms and watch some persons hold the capital city to ransom by disrupting government and legitimate business activities.
  3. In view of the forgoing, the Command wants to state that any person or group of persons arrested for violating the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution while registering their protest will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the appropriate section(s) of the law.
  4. Meanwhile, the 52 members of the El-Zakzaky group arrested by police operatives during today 10thJanuary, 2018 violent protest that left some policemen with injury will be charged to court upon the conclusion of investigation.

It would be recalled that a similar protest in front of the National Assembly went violent leading the protesters to be dispersed with tear gas.

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