There are fresh “devious plots” to keep Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in detention despite a Federal High Court ruling that the government should release him within 45 days, his members, also known as shiites, said in a statement on Friday.
Sheikh Zakzaky and wife were arrested in December 2015 following “clashes” between his followers and Nigerian soldiers.
The soldiers claimed hisakzaky’s followers were trying to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, and had blocked a road in Zaria, Kaduna state, to execute their plot.
But the shiites countered that argument, saying they were having a religious celebration and had blocked part of the road as they had done in previous years for the purpose. They said the army had planned the attack and was only using an alibi to justify the mass killings. Hundreds of people were killed, according to the shiites and Amnesty International.
Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015, but late last year, the court ruled that he should be released within 45 days. However, the shiites say the government is planning to scuttle his release.
“It is very vital to draw the attention of the general public to the series of evil designs by the authorities to flout court orders that the Sheikh be released along with his wife from the illegal detention for over a year,” said IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa.
He said “information disclosed from very close and reliable sources close to the security services indicates that some agents within and outside the Movement have been commissioned to create an atmosphere that will be used as a bait to contravene the court order”.
He explained: “In their treacherous plan, as paid agents attempt to infiltrate the hierarchy of the Movement to cause confusion and break their will, some other agents will intensify attacks on the Movement to demonize it using various ploys in the social media as well as in the mainstream media, with the aim of cutting off the momentous gain in sympathy of well-wishers, which the IMN enjoys since the court judgement.
“One such deceitful move appeared only recently, when a news item from the country’s foremost news agency, NAN tried to portray IMN as factionalised. The fairy-tale has it that the Nigeria security and civil defence corps (NSCDC) says it has uncovered a “strange” factional sect of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
“This is a baseless and completely false report that only reflects a figment of security’s imagination. This story and perhaps many more to follow are all geared towards the government’s desperate attempt at creating a group that will take up arms in our name.
“We will once again reiterate our age long non-violent posture in pursuits of our goals. It is too late for the authorities to now attempt painting the Movement and its leadership black. Our stance remains clear, our resolve unshakable and our tenacity unwavering. It is much more worthwhile for the government to take the only honourable option to swallow its pride and as a matter of urgency obey the court order by releasing Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his family and all other members of the Movement still being held in illegal detention since December, 2015”.
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