Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have called on the United States of America to prevail on the Nigerian government to release their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to enable him attend to his failing health.
The group made the appeal on Wednesday in Abuja during a peaceful protest at the US Embassy. The protesters carried placards and defied the presence of armed policemen who were stationed around the perimeter of the facility.
Addressing the protesters, Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, the Secretary of the Academic Forum of the movement, said the group wants the US to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to release Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, from "illegal detention to allow him seek medical attention".
Speaking on why they wanted their leader released, he said: "Failure to release Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife will further increase the momentum for Free Zakzaky protests in Abuja, most particularly your embassy. We have been holding Free Zakzaky protests daily for the past one year. The protest will continue and your commission will continue to be a place for our protest, until Sheikh Zakzaky is released. We are at your commission today, and we will continue to come for our demand.
"As champions of the so-called democracy, you assert to protect the right of people, but hundreds of students, women and children were massacred in Zaria in December 2015. Hence, you continue to support the tyrannical administration of Buhari. The UK High Commission may wish to note that people are not ignorant of the open free hand given to Buhari to execute the massacre of hundreds of students, women and children and to detain Sheikh Zakzaky.
"This is a clear evidence of the open support from the UK, US and Israel to the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. In fact, the world is now aware that the Zaria massacre is a pre-planned pogrom, well-scripted, planned to eliminate Sheikh Zakzaky and his Islamic movement for imperialism to gain full control over our resources and for occupation purposes."
Musa said the embassy would be made a meeting point for the daily protests of the group if it fails to prevail on the Nigerian government and berated the officials of the embassy for "maintaining a defeaning silence, despite the genocide and mass murder being committed by the Buhari-led government".