Groups demand immediate release of El-Zakzaky
The National Assembly says it will defend the country’s interest and sovereignty. The guarantee comes after concerns where expressed by Civil Society Organizations over what is being called undue interference by the Republic of Iran in the Nigeria’s internal governance.
Yesterday, the Ogenyi Okpokwu Emmanuel-led Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiatibr and other CSOs marched on the National Assembly, protesting the alleged radicalization of Islamic Movement of Nigeria members by Iran. They were met by the Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream Chairman and Bayelsa Central Central representative Emmanuel Paulker and Yusuf Abubakar.
Paulker told the protesters that Nigeria is a secular country and no one is able to impose their beliefs on others. He gave assurances that Federal legislators would immediately address their concerns.
He said, “We will protect Nigerians against any foreigner that will come under any guise to do stabilize this country. We have taken notice of what you have stated. In fact, the Senate President specifically asked me and my colleague to come out here and address this issue. So we will so we will go back to the Senate and look at it intensively.”
In the interim, Centrum Initiative is for Development and Fundamental Rights Advocacy (CEDRA), has urged the immediate release of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, a spiritual leader of IMN. The group also called for the protection of religious rights for its members.
CEDRA Chairman Dr. John Dan-Fulani discussed the nation’s condition in Lagos, and criticized the continuing incarceration of the Shiite leader without attempts to try him in a proper court of law, a situation which he alleged violated his fundamental human rights and compromised the several stipulations in the 1999 amended Constitution.
Dan-Fulani said, “We Believe should he should be immediately set free to enable him (to) seek medical treatment and enjoyed his liberty as a human being.”
Dan-Fulani has called on the media and members of the international community ti visit Zaria, Kaduna State and evaluate for themselves the Shiites in order to determine weather the violence being reported by certain factions is accurate.
He has urged the federal government to give members of the movement their unrestricted right to worship as conferred onto them by the nation’s laws.
He also alluded to uneven disposition of the judicial inquiry by the Kaduna State government during its probe into Shiite activities.
Dan-Fulani alleges that there may be some negative consequences given how the matter was handled, and said that group re-emerged after the extra-judicial execution of the group’s leader Mohammed Yusuf in 2007.
In an earlier statement, the group’s Southwest coordinator Alhaji Miftau Zakari said that leaders in Nigeria were doing a poor job of promoting national unity.