“The Movement will follow the laid down rules and procedures in seeking redress and no amount of intimidation and provocation will deter it from the path of truth and justice."
The first court hearing on the kidnapping and maltreatment of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), will commence on May 18, 2016 at the Federal High Court in Kaduna State.
Sheikh Zakzaky was abducted and abused by Nigerian military troops in the midst of the Zaria massacre, in which at least 347 IMN members were killed by the military.
In a press release issued by IMN spokesman Ibraheem Musa, the organization stated that it was seeking justice and redress for the inhumane treatment of its leader through the federal courts rather than the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) established by the Kaduna State government to investigate the massacre. The group dismissed the JCI as a “Kangaroo Commission” designed to indict the IMN and protect the military from prosecution.
The IMN further stated that the government is using the Department of State Service (DSS) to intimidate Femi Falana, the prominent human rights lawyer leading the IMN legal team. According to the IMN, the DSS has been pressuring Mr. Falana and the IMN to seek redress in the JCI rather than in court
“The Movement will follow the laid down rules and procedures in seeking redress and no amount of intimidation and provocation will deter it from the path of truth and justice,” the group said in its statement.
The IMN added that its decision to take the matter to court was made by Sheikh Zakzaky and not Mr. Falana, as the DSS has alleged.
To date, the federal government has failed to take effective, concrete steps towards investigating December’s massacre and prosecuting those responsible.
The Kaduna State government recently admitted that it secretly buried 347 victims, corroborating earlier reports by human rights organizations. According to such reports, women, children, and the elderly were among the deceased, with many being burned alive, stabbed with bayonets, and shot at close range.
The IMN alleged that over 850 members remain missing. After the massacre, hundreds of IMN members were abducted and detained in unknown facilities, according to the group.
The organization hopes that Wednesday’s court hearing will finally bring justice to these victims. In the mean time, the IMN has called for the immediate release of their leader and other detained IMN members.