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Back Activities Press Releases PRESS RELEASE: Nigeria - Ongoing concerns regarding the Commission of inquiry, continued detentions and persecution in the wake of the Zaria massacres in December 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Nigeria - Ongoing concerns regarding the Commission of inquiry, continued detentions and persecution in the wake of the Zaria massacres in December 2015

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The Islamic Movement of Nigeria held a press conference outlining their frustration with the commission of inquiry


The Islamic Movement of Nigeria held a press conference earlier on Monday, 29 February, outlining their frustration with the commission of inquiry and the continued illegal detentions of members of the movement including its leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and hundreds of others.

The full text of the statement given at the press conference can be read below, and includes criticisms of some of the panel chosen for the inquiry on the basis that they have openly incited hatred against different Muslim groups.

The IMN have predicated their further involvement with the inquiry on the following condition:

1. The unconditional release of the leader of the Movement Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.

2. Those members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that have clear bias, and whose credibility is comprised, be removed and replaced by non-partisan members.

3. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry must be reconstituted by an unbiased and unconnected body. The Commission has been set up by the Kaduna State Government which is itself implicated in the events.

IHRC is deeply concerned that justice is still being denied. It calls for the release of all detainees, and the arrest and prosecution of army members involved directly or indirectly in the killing spree and subsequent acts. A new Commission of Inquiry needs to be constituted to assess how far political actors, including but not solely the Kaduna State Government, as well as other institutions, played a role in this affair.

For more information please contact the IHRC Press Office on +44 20 8904 4222, or +447958607475 or email nadia@ihrc.org.

Notes for editors:

[1] Full text of the statement presented at this morning press conference by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria*

PRESS CONFERENCE BY MEMBERS OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press,

We are constrained to address this press conference in the light of developments arising from the premeditated attack on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, the attack on the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the destruction of its properties by the Nigerian Military and the Kaduna State Government. We also address this press conference against the background of the unlawful detention of hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria at the Kaduna Central Prison and several other undisclosed detention centres. Those that are being detained are mostly students and civil servants. Majority of them are carrying injuries sustained during attacks by the Nigerian military at the Hussainiyya Headquarters of the Movement and in the house of the leader of the Movement.

Since the attack which took place between the 12th and 16th December 2015, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leadership have been further subjected to targeted, unwarranted and vicious attack by the Kaduna State Government, the military, the Police and some hired and hack writers engaged by some faceless individuals to attack the leadership and its members. The Kaduna State Government completed what the Nigerian Military started and demolished the remaining structures of the Movement in a move aimed at denying the Movement any foothold in Zaria and its environs.

Rather than apologize to the Movement and its leader for the various acts of genocide and violation of the fundamental rights of the Movement, the Kaduna State Government in concert with the leadership of the Nigerian Military moved and set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry with skewed terms of reference. Even at that, the Movement still made efforts to cooperate with the Judicial Commission but all its efforts have been thwarted by those that want to annihilate the Movement and what it stands for.

On the Detention of Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has been in detention since the attack on his residence on the 13th day of December 2015. It is on record that the leader was shot several times and his wife was shot severally by members of the Nigerian military in a premeditated action aimed at eliminating him. Prior to this, the Nigerian Military and other security agencies have made attempts to wipe off the entire members of the family of the leader of the Movement.

Unfortunately, we underestimated the resolve of the enemies of the Movement but it is very clear to us that they are quite vicious and will go to any length to conclude their genocidal designs against the Movement. It is rather unfortunate that the Nigerian Military and other security agencies have refused to obey the Nigerian Constitution and the laws of the land. It is incongruous that we the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian people have no idea whatsoever of the state of health of the leader of the Islamic Movement and his wife.

We are further embarrassed and alarmed that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is not in the custody of the Nigerian Police Force. The Nigerian people will recall that the military had claimed that they handed over the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to the Nigerian Police Force but it is clear that the leader is not in the custody of the Nigerian Police Force but that of the Department of State Services (DSS). We are surprised that the leadership of the Nigerian military that orchestrated genocide against members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria will lie to the Nigerian people that they handed over the leader of the Movement to the Nigerian Police Force.

We also find it incongruous that the Kaduna State Government went ahead to name members of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, inaugurated the said Commission and the said Commission received memorandum from members of the public and the Government has maintained sealed lips regarding what it knows regarding the where about and detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

The Dribbling of the Legal Team of the Movement

It is now a matter of common knowledge that a Legal Team led by Femi Falana SAN and Festus Okoye Esq have made more than four fruitless attempts to see the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and interview him for the purposes of submitting memorandum to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and his appearance before the said Commission. Femi Falana SAN and Festus Okoye Esq and other members of the legal team of the Movement have visited the headquarters of the DSS on more than four occasions at the invitation of the DSS for purposes of having audience with the leader of the Movement and all the visits yielded no result. It is therefore clear that there is a laid out plan to prevent the legal team of the Movement from having access to its leader, its spokesperson and the custodian of its properties.

It is incongruous that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry will be set up and the leader of the Movement at the centre of the storm will be held incommunicado. It is incongruous that the leader of a Movement that was shot severally, the wife similarly shot severally, his sons and other family members murdered before his eyes and his personal house firebombed by the military will be denied access to his lawyers. It is inconceivable that the leader of a Movement whose headquarters was bombed and properties worth billions of Naira destroyed will be held in detention and without trial and a Judicial Commission of Inquiry will sit to determine his faith and that of his members and his Movement.

We are of the firm view that the aggressors in the act of genocide against the leader and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria cannot now pretend to be the victims of their own acts!

The Nigerian military and the security services are aware that section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999( as amended) presumes every individual accused of a criminal offence as innocent until such a person has been arraigned and tried by a properly constituted court of law. It is also part of the Nigerian Constitution that any individual that is arrested shall be entitled to consult with a legal practitioner of his own before answering questions from anybody. Why should that of the leader of the Movement be different? Why has he not been arraigned before a Court of Law if the authorities are convinced that he has committed a criminal offence?

Furthermore, section 28 of the TERRORISM (PREVENTION) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2013 gives legal practitioners access to detainees. The said section 28 of the Act provides that where a person is arrested under reasonable suspicion of having committed any offence under this Act, the relevant law enforcement or security officer may direct that the person arrested be detained in custody for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours from his arrest, without having access to –

(a) any person other than a medical officer of the relevant law enforcement or security agency or his counsel; or

(b) any phone or communication gadget.

(2) A direction under subsection (1) of this section shall not be issued unless the law enforcement agency has reasonable grounds to believe that giving access to any person, other than the medical officer or his counsel as specified in that subsection shall-

(a) lead to interference with or destruction of the evidence connected with an offence under this Act or to interference with or physical injury to other persons;

(b) lead to alerting of other persons suspected of having committed an offence under this Act or any other law but who are not yet arrested; or

(c) hinder the tracking, search and seizure of terrorist property.

(3) As soon as a direction is issued under subsection (1) of this section, the person detained shall be informed that he may, if he so wishes, be examined by a medical officer or speak to his counsel.

(4) Where a person arrested under this Act is granted bail by a court within the 90 days detention period stipulated by this Act, the person may, on the approval of the Head of the relevant law enforcement agency be placed under a house arrest and shall

(a) be monitored by its officers;

(b) have no access to phones or communication gadgets; and

(c) speak only to his counsel until the conclusion of the investigation.

As at today the leader of the Islamic Movement has been held for over 70 days without being charged to court. As at today, he has been held for over 70 days without access to his legal team and his personal physicians.

Our country and its laws do not sanction detention without trial. Our laws and the Constitution makes it mandatory that those that are detained must at all times have access to legal practitioners of their own choice. Why then must that of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria be any different?

We are convinced that there is a grand conspiracy to destroy the leader of the Movement and the Movement itself. In the light of the refusal of the security agencies to allow our legal team access to our leader, it is fruitless and an exercise in futility for us to appear and or continue appearance before the Judicial Commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government.

Those in Detention

We have previously alerted the Nigerian people of the fact that hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are currently in detention at the Kaduna Central Prison and many scores more are being held in several other detention centers. All of those being held in Kaduna Central Prison were purportedly arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court 1 Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Kaduna. It is also unfortunate that the said Chief magistrate has refused to rule on their bail application on grounds of a purported directive from the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that they should not be released on bail.

On Some Members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry

The Movement is aware that the Kaduna State Government appointed some tainted members into its Judicial Commission of Inquiry to assist in annihilating the Movement. Some of the terms of reference of the Commission accords with the views and public speeches of some of the members of the Commission. We are of the firm conviction that the public speeches and utterances of some of the members of the Commission betray their membership of the Commission.

PROF. UMAR LABDO:

In his book: ‘YAN SHIA DA AKIDOJINSU (Shiites and their beliefs), on the page 3 he wrote:

“Nothing will usher in peaceful coexistence in this country like the Muslims acquiring dangerous weapons similar to those of Christians or even more sophisticated ones, and they should train their youths in handling such weapons so that they can use them in times of need. Only if the Muslims wreck enough havoc like their Christian counterparts (at each other’s throat like dog and monkey fight), will peace reign supreme. But a situation where only the Muslims are at the receiving end while the Christians go Scot free, the much needed peace will remain elusive.”

This Professor, an extremist to the core and an unrepentant religious bigot is today sitting as a commissioner in a panel to investigate the Zaria genocide executed against a group he so much hate with a passion – a group he repeatedly called for their annihilation. It is with such similar venomous animosity against the Christians in Nigeria that he recommended the following measures be taken against the Shiites on page 74 of the same book:

“Shiite schools should be closed because it is from there they spread their deviant beliefs”. Shiites should not be allowed to teach in public and private schools including universities. Their properties should be confiscated, like their houses. There should be investigation on their finances especially from foreign countries like Iran and Lebanon.”

It is noteworthy that in the present pogrom carried out by a combination of the Nigerian Army and Kaduna State government officials, all of these points he raised were touched and even more. Our schools were not only closed but were demolished completely. There were threats and molestation to our students and staff in public schools. In addition to the scores of students killed extra-judicially, others were arrested and are being detained incommunicado denying dozens of them opportunity to register and write their various final examinations. A member of the Movement who is a university professor was threatened by no less than an army spokesman in an official press statement. Several of our properties were not just confiscated, but were utterly demolished. In the wake of these atrocities, a panel of inquiry was set up and charged with the task among others of investigating our assets and finances as prescribed by Professor Umar Labdo. Perhaps to ensure that all goes according to script, Professor Labdo today sits on the panel to execute his venomous prescription.

Soon after his prescription was practiced in Sokoto, Professor Labdo quickly authored another book “Bacin Tafarkin Yan Shia da Akidojinsu” (The unsuitability of Shiah Creed and their beliefs), in which he wrote on pages 2 and 3:

“After dispersing the Shiites from Sokoto state, where they wanted to make their West African headquarters, they have now fled to other states, especially Kano State, where they now wish to make their new centre. It is obligatory on other state governments not to wait for a time when there will be mass shedding of blood in their cities and towns before they act.

“To the generality of Muslims, the duty over their heads is to ensure that they all contribute, each according to his strengths, in fighting this group… Those in authority, Scholars, masses, the wealthy, each must all contribute his quota to check this spread of Shia.”

To bigots like Professor Labdo, it does not matter that the Sokoto incident had long been settled in courts with the members of the Islamic Movement being discharged and acquitted of all malicious charges against them in suit No. SS/7C/2008. At the moment, the real victims of the flagrant attacks in Sokoto are awaiting payment of compensation by the Sokoto state government for the destruction of lives and properties of Sokoto members of the Islamic Movement.

This Professor believes that only he and similarly minded persons are rightly guided people in Islam. On page 74 of the earlier cited book, there is a sub topic titled ‘THE SHIITES AND THE SUFIS ARE TWINS’. By implication, he believes that just as the Shiites are deviant, so also are the Sufis who are known as the Dariqa followers. It also means that perhaps the treatment he prescribed for those he called Shiites can as well be extended to Dariqa followers (Since they are twins). Thus, Christians, Shiites and Dariqa followers don’t deserve to live according to this extremist.

It is noteworthy that Prof. Umar Labdo remains with these myopic views since he authored those books, and to date he hasn’t refuted his ‘dissertation’. He is not qualified to sit on a panel of inquiry investigating the massacre of a people he earlier believed must not be allowed to live.

Prof. SalihuShehu

Prof. Salihu Shehu has equally been a very vocal, radical, fanatic, and a staunch wahabi/salafi preacher as well as a prominent Shiaphobic figure who in his lectures, presentations, writings and discussions never stops to attack the Islamic Movement and its leadership.

Particulars of Prof. Salihu Shehus biasness:

He holds an age-long resentment against the Movement and its leadership. In 2001 in the wake of the Zamfara state Shari’ah debate, the Bayero University Kano invited Shaikh Zakzaky to a symposium on the subject. Prof Salihu Shehu was so hostile and uncontrollable to views of Shaikh Zakzaky that he had to be restrained by Prof Zaharadeen.

He has never hidden his disdain for the Islamic movement, its leadership and its activities. Recently and exactly, five (5) days to the Zaria massacre, Salishu Shehu condemned Shi’a on his facebook post. This is the English translation of what he wrote in Hausa language:

“Commenting on the alliance between muslim countries and the United States

Alliance between the United States and Europe on one hand and their alliance with Muslim countries on the other hand are on different levels. Some of their allies are visible, and some are not.

While Saudi Arabia publicly appears to be United States ally, Iran is being an ally in closed doors. They are deceiving people by publicly appearing to be the one standing against the United States and challenging them while it is nothing but a lie and deceit.

The land of Israel and the United States have no closer ally in the Middle East like Iran. It will be very hard for the United States to wage a war against Iran its closest ally, let no man be deceived or get confused by what is happening between Hizbush-Shaitan and Israels wars and attacks, because it is nothing but a staged play and a way to convince people that they are against each other.

Below are some references and proofs that will confirm what I said:

1. TREACHEROUS ALLIANCE: THE SECRET DEALINGS between IRAN, Israel AND the United States by TritaParsi, Yale University version.

Also among the most important records and the new American motives clearly shows how ready it is to support the spread of Shiism. Because as the data showed, Shiism should be held more dearly rather than the remaining sect in islam. It should be the one they give their full support.

This is the reason shiites are getting more comfortable in many countries but hardly the United States complain about the spread of Shiism. As we can clearly see in many countries like Nigeria, they have no respect for the rules and regulations of the country, they do whatever they feel like doing without thinking of the impact or the implications of their actions. Whoever have any doubts about what was said should read this book:

2. CIVIL DEMOCRATIC ISLAM: PARTNER, RECOURSES AND STRATEGIES By Cheryl Bernand, RAND Corporation version.

Malam Salihu Abubakar

Malam Salihu Abubakar is known for his malicious stand against Shi’ism in all his preaching and discussion sessions. His scorn for the Islamic movement was clearly demonstrated when he refused to honour invitations by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to give talks during “Unity Week.”

Particulars of Malam Salihu Abubakars biases:

(1) His Friday sermons in ABU Juma'at mosque Zaria

(2) His Tafseer sessions during the month of Ramadan at ITN, Zango, Zaria

(3) His lectures especially in ABU Zaria

OUR POSITION

Our appearance before the Commission shall be predicated on the following:

1. The unconditional release of the leader of the Movement Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky to lead the Movement to the said Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government. The leader of the Movement is a Nigerian and must be presumed innocent of whatever offence he is suspected of having committed. He cannot be held incommunicado and a Judicial Commission of Inquiry presumably set up to determine the immediate and remote cause of the crisis is sitting.

2. The member of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that have a baggage must voluntarily quit the Judicial Commission. Some of the members of the Commission as already pointed out have taken a clear partisan and ideological position against the Movement. It is shameful that an individual that has canvassed the closing down of the schools built by the Movement and the annihilation of the Movement will agree to serve in a Judicial Commission of Inquiry that is supposed to be non partisan.

3. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry must be reconstituted. The Kaduna State Government that set up the Commission is an aggressor. Some of the members of the Commission represent some of the services that engaged in acts of genocide against the Movement. It is therefore unjust to deny the Movement representation in the Commission.

Based on all these, we decline to participate and have any further dealings with the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. We would consult and direct our lawyers on the next course of action in search of justice in this matter.

Signed

AbdulHamid Bello

For the Islamic Movement

* This text is forwarded for information purposes only, and cannot be verified by IHRC.

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