We have capacity to take up arms against government – Shi’ites

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Worried about the health and detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh El-Zakzaky, his supporters in the Southwest on Monday urged the Federal and Kaduna State Governments to release him and his wife unconditionally.

The Southwest Coordinator, Supporters of the IMN leader, Miftahu Zakariya who spoke to reporters in Abuja on El-Zakzaky’s imprisonment said with about 30 million Shi’ites in the country, the group has the capacity to take up arms against government, but will follow due process of the law.

Zakariya said President Muhammadu Buhari should be held responsible if anything wrong happens to Sheikh El-Zakzaky.

He accused the Federal Government of planning to kill the IMN leader in the Kaduna State correctional facility.

Zakariya said: “We are a law abiding set of people. The intention of government is to continue to incarcerate Malam to cause violence, so that they can justify the violence they have used on us before now.

“What they keep saying is that we are terrorists. Our body language and actions have proven beyond reasonable doubt that we are not terrorists, that we are law abiding citizens. What we had expected is that Nigerians will come out openly and speak out against this injustice. The danger is this, the longer Nigerians remain silence, the cheaper the blood of Nigerians will come.

“We will not take up arms to fight government. This is not because we do not have the capacity to do that. According to the Nigerian government, there are 30 million Shi’ites in Nigeria. If thirty million Nigerians were to contribute one thousand Naira each, that will be thirty billion Naira. I am still certain that N30 billion can buy weapon. But we are not terrorists and we are not interested in violence. We will continue to speak out.

“The intension of government is to kill him and not to keep him alive. Every money that was spent for the medical trip was provided by we the supporters of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky. Government did not contribute any money for his treatment. You know he will not allow the doctors that were brought by government to treat him. When they refused him access to his doctor that he has paid for. He decided to come back home. We are still waiting for government to give him the chance to see another doctor in another country.

“The body language of everybody is that Nigerian government is bent on killing him. They have done everything possible to kill him. Government should be called to order. He should be released unconditionally”.

He went further that: “The public is aware that after the 2015 massacre, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, through their chief counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja for the enforcement of their fundamental rights. On December 2, 2016, the Court delivered a historic judgement, ordering Buhari to release the couple unconditionally. The Buhari regime ignored the order, and spent the next year to come up with a way to provide legal cover for their continued detention. With the full support of Kaduna State governor, Nasiru El-Rufa’i, they brought forth concocted charges. The regime then ordered the DSS to transfer them from the detention centre in Abuja to a new one in Kaduna”.

The Shi’ites said the Kaduna High Court charges centers on aiding and abetting his followers for culpable homicide, and: “the same State Judiciary had already discharged and acquitted those accused of committing the homicide. Thus, the arraignment and detention of the two is nothing but the latest in manifestation of the Buhari regimes commitment to disregard the rule of law.

“The legal counsel of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Mallama Zeenah, have since taken all the necessary legal steps to bring this new series of trumped-up charges to an end. Yet for the past (months) the Kaduna state governments prosecutor seems to have been instructed to play the familiar game of delaying tactics, to prolong the case indefinitely. For, all requests by their legal team to secure a date for the continuation of the court proceedings have come to no avail, without any regard for their fragile and deteriorating health, as they languish in the overcrowded Kaduna Prison.

“The Sheikh has been suffering from obstructed blood flow to the heart, which poses a serious risk of a heart attack; nerve root compression; severe visual impairment in his remaining right eye and progressive open angle glaucoma and progressive macular atrophy and other issues that can inevitably lead to permanent blindness. There are also extremely high concentrations of lead and cadmium in his blood among other things. His wife suffers from severe arthritis in her knee joints, which her doctors have said can only be treated with knee replacement surgery since at least 2 years ago. She also has loose fragments of bullet pieces in her abdominal area which cause a large number of episodes of periodic life-threatening complications with her organs, the wheel chair bound mother of 9 is also hypertensive. Even one of the ailments suffered by either of them constitutes a very serious medical emergency, let alone a combination of all of them”.

Zakariya disclosed that that IMN leader has already suffered two strokes while in detention adding that: “Both Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife need urgent and critical interventions to salvage their health.”

The Nation

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