Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) who has been in detention since being hurt in a conflict between his movement and Nigerian soldiers in Zaria in December 2015, on Monday, demanded his unconditional release and that of his wife within 24 hours.
In a letter to the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), his solicitors, Femi Falana, pointed out the sequence of events of 12-14 December in which thousands of soldiers, who were later joined by officials of the Kaduna State government, attacked members of the IMN, killing many and destroying property.
The letter said that the Sheik, his wife and members of the IMN have as a result of the events resolved not to participate in the proceedings of the Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Enquiry in any manner whatsoever and howsoever.
“Although our clients were not at the scene of the attack the rampaging troops invaded their residence at Wali Street, Zaria, on December 14, 2016,” the complaint said. “The soldiers set the building ablaze and killed three of our clients’ children in their presence and thereby subjected them to untold mental agony.
“Thereafter, the armed soldiers shot our clients several times. As a result of the brutal attack, Sheik Zakzaky lost his left eye while doctors are currently battling to save the right one. While in custody both of them have gone through many surgical operations to extract bullets from their bodies.”
The letter also recalled that during a similar attack in 2014 by a detachment of the Nigerian Army, three other children of the Sheikh and his wife were also killed without any lawful justification.
It noted that that while the military personnel who killed the children and other unarmed civilians in the December attack have not been brought to justice, the Kaduna State Government has dragged to court some of the victims who survived and charged them with culpable homicide and sundry offences.
Furthermore, it pointed out that notwithstanding that fact that those criminal charges are pending at the Kaduna High Court, the state government set up the Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate the same subject matter.
“Even though our clients have not been told that they breached any law they have been denied access to their lawyers, personal physicians, and family members for over three months,” the lawyers said, noting that their clients were only permitted to meet with them last Friday after several requests made by the chambers had been turned without any legal basis.