The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (aka Shiites) says that their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was being prosecuted for his belief, and not from crimes as alleged by the Nigerian Government.
The Shiites noted that their leader is a prisoner of faith.
The statement came as a response to Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, reaction to the United States inclusion of Nigeria alongside, Comoros, Russia, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Sudan in its Special Watch Lists of countries engaged in violation of religious freedom.
Mr. Lai had in his reaction to the statement from Washington DC, disagreed with the placement of Nigeria on the list, saying that El-Zakzaky was facing trials for crimes against Nigeria.
However, Ibrahim Musa, the spokesman of the Shiite group, alleges that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government deserved to be held for allegedly engaging in extra-judicial killings.
According to him, the persecution of Shiites members by the current administration was well known even to the international community.
“If anyone deserves to be held and tried for crimes, it would be the top officials of the Buhari government, who killed over a thousand unarmed citizens extrajudicially and buried them in mass graves, and have used all the might of governance to hide the truth and obstruct the course of justice,” he noted.
“Furthermore, many local and international human rights organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Islamic Human Rights Commission have all investigated and documented the atrocities meted on members of the Islamic Movement and its leadership, purely based on their religious beliefs.
“That the ongoing persecution of the Islamic Movement has drawn the attention of the world, especially very lately, the United States government is a reality that no forms of lies by Mr Lai (Mohammed) can obliterate.”
The Shiite group also cited the alleged killing of 1000 of its members and their burial in a mass grave in Kaduna.
“We vehemently and in the most unequivocal terms condemn the recent purported statement attributed to Lai Muhammed that our leader is being held in detention for what he termed crimes and not religion.
“Indeed, if anyone deserves to be held and tried for crimes, it would be the top officials of the Buhari government who killed over 1,000 unarmed citizens and buried them in mass graves, and have used all the might of governance to hide the truth and obstruct the course of justice.
“The Nigerian government’s legendary disregard for the rule of law and the persecution of members of the Islamic Movement is well known to the international community.
“It is the subject of preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Furthermore, local and international human rights organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Islamic Human Rights Commission have all investigated and documented the atrocities meted out to members of the Islamic Movement and its leadership, purely based on their religious beliefs.”
David Chima is the Group Head (Editors) at Naija Buzz News. He is a very experienced Journalist. He studied Mass Communication at the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria, Kaduna State, before proceeding for Advanced Studies in Mass Communication (Journalism) at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, Bauchi State. He previously served as the Head Senior Reporters and Publishers at 1Push.Ng and eventually Naija Buzz News. Chima is a lover of football and a very strong supporter of Barcelona Football Club Spain.