House of Reps Want Shiites Leader El-Zakzaky Released From DSS Custody

Ibraheem Elezakzaky

Members of the House of Representatives during plenary on Wednesday urged the federal government to obey court orders and release Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The lawmakers noted that if things are allowed to continue like this, the Shiite members may cause irreparable damage.

The IMN leader has been in detention since 2015, when Shi’ites clashed with a convoy of the chief of army staff in Kaduna state and all court orders calling for his release have been disobeyed.

The House made this call while adopting a motion by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.

The lawmakers said the IMN members who have been protesting their leader’s continued detention could wreak more havoc.

That massacre of the Shiites has been condemned by local and international rights groups.

Since the December 2015 incident, Mr El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah have been in detention; first without trial for about a year. They were eventually charged with murder for the death of a soldier during the December 2015 incident.

Despite several courts granting him bail, the government has insisted on detaining him, thereby agitating his followers to embark on several protests.

Dozens of other Shiite members have been killed in different protests mainly in Abuja and Kaduna since the December 2015 incident.

The security agencies often accuse the Shiites of instigating the violence by using various weapons including petrol bombs; allegations the Shiites have denied.

The most recent of the clashes was at the National Assembly on Tuesday where the protesters clashed with security operatives while trying to gain access to the parliament.

Two police officers were shot while several cars were damaged during the clash.

Other lawmakers were more of the opinion that “the root cause” of the protests be addressed rather than the security challenge, as the circumstance that led to the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgent group isn’t different from this.

“If the court has given an order for the release of the man, we should call on the government to release him. The discourse should not be on the invasion of the national assembly alone,” Onofiok Luke, from Akwa Ibom had said.

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