Barely a month after a violent clash between soldiers in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General T. Y. Buratai, and members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, the Federal Government has opted to probe the incident, which has heightened tension in the religious circles.
The leader of the sect, Sheik El-Zakzakky, may have been moved to Abuja for further medical attention even as the sect claimed that 700 of its members were still being detained by the army.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who gave the indication of the investigation while receiving a 10-man delegation from the President, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, said the unfortunate incident was avoidable.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen by Mr. Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Malami said it was not clear yet whether the probe would be instituted by the Federal Government or the Kaduna State Government but said the investigation was necessary to prevent a future recurrence.
Educate your followers on good conduct
He further said that though he would not engage in blame games, it was necessary for clerics to educate their followers on good conduct and how to co-exist with their neighbours, especially the teachings on the right of way which the Muslim Ummah are compelled to respect.
According to him, “as Muslims, we know what is obtainable in Islam, especially in the area of individuals rights, especially rights of way. As Muslims, we have a collective responsibility to create awareness through our preaching on tolerance and compliance according to the dictates of Islam.”
Sultan’s delegation pleads for release of
The leader of the delegation, Professor Daud Noibi, chairman of the NSCIA Contact Committee, had earlier pleaded with the Federal Government for the release of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Shiites and his followers who were injured for adequate medical treatment while the bodies of the dead should be released for burial.
Noibi said: “We want to request that those injured in the clash should be given adequate medical attention, while those who are dead should be released to their families for proper burials,”
In his response, the AGF said: “I will do whatever I can within the confines of the law to see how an amicable resolution can be achieved. So, when your demand is formalised, I will treat and facilitate it to the appropriate quarters accordingly.”
Other members of the delegation included the National Secretary of the Council, Professor Ishaq Oloyede; Malam Yunus Ustaz (SAN), Professor Dahiru Yahaya, Mallam Musemil Hanga, Professor Ibrahim Suleiman, Alhaji Ibrahim Jega, Malam Ishaq K. Sanni, Imam A.R. Ahmad, Mr. Abubakar Tsav (retd), a former Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN).
El-Zakzaky moved to Abuja
Meanwhile, according to a highly placed official of the Shiite sect, who spoke with Vanguard, yesterday evening, the sect leader was moved to Abuja to treat injuries he sustained during the encounter between the army and members of the sect in Zaria on December 13, 2015.
The official, who does not want to be named because of fear of being targeted by security forces, said he gathered from “highly placed, credible sources” in the security services that the Sheikh is alive after battling with multiple gun shot injuries.
“I have been told by highly placed, credible multiple sources in the security services that the sheikh is alive and has been moved to Abuja. I was told that the security services had to battle to save his life because of the multiple gun shots inflicted on him. I do not have any reason to doubt my sources” the source, who is a highly placed government official, told Vanguard.
He explained that but for the intervention of Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, the sheikh would have been killed alongside with many of his followers during the encounter with the military.
According to the source,“we were told that el-Rufai had to intervene by calling on a higher military authorities for the life of the Sheikh to be spared. He knows the implication of killing the Sheikh bearing in mind what happened to Boko Haram.
“After killing the second and third in command of the Shiites sect, it would have been disastrous if the Sheikh was killed too. El-Rufai’s intervention was very important because the reaction of his followers would have been out of control.”
A senior official of the Department of State Services, DSS, who spoke with Vanguard confirmed that “the Sheikh has been moved out of Kaduna State but I can’t confirm definitely that he is in Abuja. What I know is that he is no longer in Kaduna State.”
700 of our members
still being detained by army—Shiite
Also, the sect said, yesterday, that 700 of its members were still being detained by the Nigerian Army.
The spokesman of the movement, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement he signed in Kaduna said contrary to the claim of the Nigerian Army the detained sect members were yet to be handed to the police.
The sect in the statement said: “General Officer Commanding, GOC,1 Mechanized Division, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade stated unequivocally in his address announcing the arrest of the revered leader of the movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky that the members of the movement were not armed but were carrying sticks, machetes and catapults.
“We also categorically refute in strong terms the claims of the GOC that none of our members is currently with the military. We have a list of about 700 of our members that are currently missing, some of who are in detention with the Army at Basawa Barracks, Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria, Jaji Cantonment and 1 Mechanized Division in Kaduna.
“We challenge the GOC to come up with a single occasion when the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of his Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky ever threatened the peace and stability of Nigeria or engaged in any form of violence throughout its 38 years of existence.”