Posted by News Express | 22 June 2018 | 1,020 times
Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has rejected claims by the Kaduna State Police that its members attacked officers of the Command with weapons during a protest carried out yesterday by the group demanding the release of its incarcerated leader, Sheikh Zakzaky.
A press statement signed by the President of the Media Forum of IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said, “Ordinarily we would not have joined issues with Kaduna State Police Command, because it is general knowledge that Nigerian Police Force is synonymous with brutality and concoction of lies. Nevertheless, because of the weight of its barefaced lies against the Islamic Movement yesterday in a press release signed by its Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), it is expedient to set the records straight, thus silence is not just an option for us.
“Following a brutal unjustified attack on a peaceful Free Zakzaky procession using live ammunition in Kaduna yesterday, the PPRO hurriedly crafted a mischievous press statement to cover its shame. In the said release, he alleged that members of the Islamic Movement were armed with guns; knives as well as IEDs and injured Police Officers and disturbed public peace, adding “This is far from the truth and we categorically deny these wild and spurious allegations.”
“Ever since the brutal clampdown on the Islamic Movement by this regime in December of 2015 in Zaria to date, we have conducted several protests rightly demanding for the release of our leader in Kaduna as in other places. Even two days earlier than this, there was one such protest that ended peacefully and members of the public can bear witness to the fact that our protests have been peaceful. In fact, majority of them have gone unnoticed and unreported by the press simply because the Police did not choose to fire at the protesters.
“Thus, why would yesterday’s protest be different? The statement goes on to describe what actually happened, “When yesterday’s procession started in the heart of Kaduna, as it often does, commercial activities were continued without any panic because residents know very well that the Islamic Movement processions are always peaceful. However, it was the arrival of the police that stirred panic and pandemonium when they fired tear gas and live bullets in their attempts at dispersing a peaceful procession. As at the time of writing this press release, not fewer than forty people sustained various degrees of injury including gunshots wounds,” the statement said.
It noted that the Movement then castigated the police for arresting pressmen covering their protests. “The Kaduna State PPRO should remember that all these were done in broad daylight to the glare of all. Had members of the Islamic Movement carried arms, journalists would not have followed the procession for coverage. How would the Police command explain the shameful and unwarranted arrests of several innocent pressmen? Were they carrying arms as well? This is a further proof that goes to establish what the public believe that the police are not trustworthy of anything.
“We will like to also remind the Police that the Islamic Movement is not an organisation that can be banned by fiat because we are exemplifying Islamic teachings in our day to day life. We are not the criminals that the Police want the public to believe, we are practicing Muslims. Our only crime before the vicious Kaduna state government and its supporters is that we demand justice to our incarcerated leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his wife and the hundreds under illegal detention for almost three years. On these we will not relent on our efforts until the killers of the at least 347 members of the Islamic Movement admitted by the state government to have buried them in a mass grave are brought to book,” the statement affirmed.
It further reiterated its determination to continue with its peaceful protests. “We will like to assure the general public that we are the same people that have been living with them peacefully for the past four decades. They have nothing to fear during our peaceful marches as they will remain as such. Police brutality and killings will not stop us from demanding for our rights,” IMN declared.
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