Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shiites, has said its members have been attacked and killed by hired thugs during peaceful protests on the streets of Kaduna State.
The Islamic group, therefore, slammed the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, describing him as wicked over his hostile treatment of civil servants in the state.
El-Rufai had sacked Kaduna State University’s lecturers, health workers and others who joined the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) strike in the state.
He had also declared the National President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and 17 others wanted.
The Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige waded into the crisis between the state government and the NLC and invited both parties in the dispute to an emergency meeting.
Following the emergency meeting, the NLC suspended its five-day warning strike in the state as announced by Wabba.
However, IMN says it is necessary to condemn the strong-arm tactics deployed by El-Rufai against the peaceful NLC protests during the warning protest.
This was contained in a statement signed by the spokesman for IMN, Ibrahim Musa, made available to Daily Post on Friday.
It said, “If not for the fact that Islam abhours injustice and implore adherents to speak out against injustice anywhere, anytime, more so injustice to one is an injustice to all, we wouldn’t have bothered to declare our stance on this preventable face-off between the Governor and NLC.
“It is unfortunate the way and manner the embattled Kaduna Governor declared Wabba and 17 others wanted for alleged economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure under the Miscellaneous Offences Act and even disclosed that there was a handsome reward for anyone who could give information on Wabba’s current whereabouts.
“This strong-arm tactics employed by the Governor is not new to us in the Islamic Movement at the height of our struggle for justice to Sheikh (Ibrahim) Zakzaky from 2016 to date.
“Also, hired armed thugs with knives, sticks and stones, attacked the peaceful protest of the labour union in Kaduna State on Tuesday, 18/05/2021. If not that the police and the DSS (Department of State Services) in Kaduna had apprehended some of the sponsored thugs, thereby protecting protesters and averting bloodshed, the story would have been different by now.
“However apprehending them without bringing them and their sponsors to justice will only be a waste of state resources. Their sponsors must be exposed and brought to justice if the law enforcement agencies are serious.
“We are not strange to such barbarism of Governor El-Rufai. It is on record that times without number when we embark on peaceful protests in the streets of Kaduna, such hoodlums are employed to spill our blood for no reason. In fact, it is on record that we have lost at least two people to such gruesome ploys.
“KDSG even resorted to vile propaganda when it likened 'the actions of the NLC as equivalent to the actions of the bandits kidnapping and menacing our citizens. Bandits illegally use arms, but the NLC is deploying mob action for exactly the same ends,' as claimed the state in a press statement.
“We will not forget when the governor was busy trumpeting that the Islamic Movement is worse than Boko Haram at the slightest opportunity. His crude tactics have always been to' black-paint' innocent citizens to deceptively sway public support to his side.
“And to cap it all up, the governor announced that he had fired Kaduna State University’s lecturers who joined the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) strike in the state, as ‘KDSG will not tolerate criminal acts disguised as industrial action.’
“The government also announced the dismissal of all nurses below Grade Level 14 for the illegal strike. If this is not the way of fascist regimes, what is it? Certainly, this is most undemocratic and extremely autocratic," the statement partly read.
The group used the opportunity to demand justice for its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky who has been detained since 2015, while commending the NLC for confronting the autocratic tendencies of El-Rufai."
“Finally, we hereby salute the courage of the NLC and its leadership for resisting the evil plans of the wicked Governor of sacking the common masses from their places of work.
“We also hope by now members of the public must have realised what we have been saying all along, since the Zaria massacre of December 2015, that this regime is brutal, aggressive in its actions and extremely egocentric.
“It doesn’t care about the lives, property and welfare of the citizens. Had it been we were listened to, we might not have reached the sorry state the nation is in now.
“Hence we reiterate our demand for justice to Sheikh Zakzaky, his family, followers and all the victims of the Zaria massacre, which is nothing short of their immediate release from illegal detention," the statement added.