(AhlulBayt News Agency) - An advocacy group, Concerned Nigerians has requested that the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement, Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky be released to them.
The group further accused the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, of falsehood over the present welfare and accommodation of the outspoken Shi’a Muslim cleric.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Convener, Deji Adeyanju and Secretary to the group, John Danfulani.
The statement reads: “We watched the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed with dismay and anger on Channels TV as he tried to justify the continuous and unlawful detention of Sheik Zakzaky and his wife.
“Mohammed said that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are not being detained or in custody of the police or DSS but in a home built by this government. This assertion by Minister of Information is not only false but unacceptable to all well meaning Nigerians and an insult to our collective sensibility.
“You’d recall that over 1000 Shi’ites were killed by government forces in Zaria back in 2015 and till date, no one is on trial. The Sheikh and his wife have been denied access to his immediate and extended family, his lawyers and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) who are his immediate constituent.
“How can the Minister of Information say the Sheik and his wife are living in a house built by this government and no member of his immediate family, his lawyers or IMN members have been allowed to visit him in that house?
“Information available to us suggests that Sheik Zakzaky and his wife are still in DSS custody and have remained there ever since their arrest in December 2015.
It is not true that no Nigerian is willing to be a neighbour to Sheikh Zakzaky or accept him.
“We are willing and ready to accept Zakzaky as a neighbour. In fact, our Kaduna state coordinator and members both in Kaduna city and Zaria are ready to house Zakzaky and his wife and support their reintegration into the society. We are also willing and ready to provide accommodation for Zakzaky and his wife pending his permanent reintegration.
“We are therefore appealing to the federal government to release Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife to us and end his unlawful and illegal prolonged incarceration. This government must remember that the world is watching and that it has the worst human rights violation record in the history of our country.