By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA—The clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, and security agents continued for the third day running, yesterday, at the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, headquarters in Maitama, Abuja.
The protesters, who are demanding the release of their detained leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, had gathered at the NHRC headquarters to submit their petition and also stage their routine dances and chants of ‘Free Zakzaky.’
However, they were, again, resisted by security agents who maintained that the free Zakzaky protest was not allowed within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Vanguard learned that the Police asked the protesters to nominate one or two representatives to be escorted into the Commission building for the purpose of submitting their petition.
The suggestion did not go down well with members of the sect, as they insisted that their protests will hold pending when an official of the Commission comes out to interact with them and take their petition.
In the ensuing stalemate, the security agents sprayed teargas on the protesters, applied force to disperse them and arrested those who refused to leave the Commission premises.
Unlike Monday and Tuesday’s clashes, the Shi’ites did not fight back as they were being harassed and intimidated.
The Secretary, Academic Forum of IMN, Abdullahi Musa, told Vanguard that in spite of attempts to break their will power and force them to jettison their call for El-Zakzaky’s release, the sect will continue their protest.
He warned that government is trying to cause them to take up arms like the Boko Haram insurgents and challenged Nigeria’s democratic values as well as constituted authorities.
‘We won’t stop’
His words: “We cannot stop now. We will continue our protests. The government is bent on killing our members. We rather die in public over the social injustice meted on us than die at home without the world knowing why we were killed.
“Truth is, even if we decided to stay at home, their (government) agents can still trace our members to their homes and kill them.
“We are raising the alarm today over the direction the Federal Government and security agents want these daily clashes to go. The constant provocation of our members is an attempt to cause us to take up arms like Boko Haram insurgents to challenge our democratic institutions. But we don’t want to do that.
“That is why we are appealing to true democrats across the country to step in and help us in the protection of our basic rights and in our protest against the social injustice meted on our leader and us.”