Wednesday, December 30, 2015

El-Zakzaky Not in Our Custody, Says Kaduna Prisons
December 31, 2015
Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna

The authorities of the Kaduna Prisons on Wednesday distanced itself from purported claim that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi’ite, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was in the prison.

While dismissing the claim, the Controller of Kaduna Prisons, Abubakar Argungu, however, said 191 members of the IMN were in the custody of the prison.

“We only have 191 followers of the Shi’ite leader in our custody. But we do not have their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, with us,” Argungu said.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government said on Wednesday that it would soon announce members of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the recent clash in Zaria between the Nigerian Army and Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

In a statement issued by Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, the government said it had completed the composition and terms of reference of the proposed commission.

It added that effort was being made to contact all the nominees for the membership of the commission as well as the secretariat and resource persons.

The statement partly read, “The Kaduna State Government has largely completed work on the composition and the terms of reference of the proposed Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

“However, the government is still engaged in extensive consultations that are required prior to a formal announcement.

“Efforts are also being made to contact all the nominees for membership of the commission, as well as the secretariat and resource persons that will support the work of this important inquiry.

“These consultations and contacts have been impacted by the holidays. Therefore, the Kaduna State Government will be delaying the announcement of the membership of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry until early in the New Year.

“Best efforts have been applied to ensure that the announcement is made within the two-week window envisaged when the decision to establish the commission of inquiry was made. But it has now emerged that a little more time is required.”

El-Zakzaky running a parallel govt for 40 years – Gumi

December 30, 2015
Sunday Aborisade, Adelani Adepegba and Godwin Isenyo

A renowned Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, on Tuesday accused the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, of running a parallel government in the North.

Gumi, while speaking with newsmen in Kaduna, alleged that for the 40 years of its existence, the Shi’ite sect had been conducting military training for its members.

According to him, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is operating a state within the state.

He said, “The Shiites have been embarking on military training and producing cadets and soldiers.

“The Islamic Movement of Nigeria does not recognise the corporate entity of Nigeria. The group is not registered. They operate above the law and they get direct foreign aid.”

The cleric recalled that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua told him of the massive importation of weapons to different parts of the country and made mentioned of Iran as supplying arms to the El-Zakzaky-led movement.

Gumi maintained that he had last year written a letter, warning about the danger of blocking highways by the Shi’ite sect “where his (El-Zakzaky) followers travelled on foot from all over the country to Zaria.”

He added that the blockage of roads as allegedly done by the Shi’ites “is an abomination in Islam.”

While warning that the North would continue to be under-developed if the Shi’ite and Boko Haram groups were not eradicated, Gumi said, “The strife and unnecessary blocking of roads and shouting slogans on the way increases the tension in the North.”

The cleric noted that the bloody clash between the Army and the Shi’ites was a divine intervention to prevent the recurrence of “another Boko Haram.”

Meanwhile, some members of the Shi’ite Islamic group were arraigned at the Chief Magistrate’s Court 1, Kaduna, on Tuesday, where they were charged with criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.

It was learnt that they had been remanded in prison.

The Shi’ites clashed with troops in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, two weeks ago, where about 62 persons reportedly lost their lives.

Their leader, El-Zakzaky was subsequently taken into custody by the Army before he was released to the police for investigation.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, told one of our correspondents on Tuesday that the Shi’ite members were being prosecuted for incitement and public disturbances among other charges.

She said, “Some Shi’ite members have been arraigned in court where they were charged with criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances among others. They have been remanded in prison custody and the case adjourned.”

The Army had accused the Shi’ite followers of attempting to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff, but the Islamic movement said soldiers simply attacked “defenceless people.”

Also, members of the Senate ad-hoc committee on the clash between the Nigerian Army and members of the Shi’ite Islamic sect, met behind closed doors in Abuja on Tuesday but refused to disclose details of their deliberation to journalists.

Efforts by some reporters covering the Senate to interview the Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on the details of the meeting failed as he refused to pick his calls.

The senator was also not available when journalists besieged his office since the venue of the meeting was not disclosed.

However, a member of the committee who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the meeting was held and resolved to carry out a fact-finding mission to the scene of the attack in Kaduna on Monday.

The senator also explained that members of the committee would also visit the state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai; Emir of Zaria and prominent members of the sect.

Meanwhile, a member of the senate panel, Senator Abu Ibrahim, had confirmed to journalists, early on Tuesday that the committee would meet with some Shitte members to find out their roles in the bloody clash.

He said, “Yes, we are meeting to have first-hand information on the matter from members of the sect but the meeting will not be opened to members of the public because of its sensitive nature.”

Ibrahim confirmed that his committee had been meeting regularly, and would make its findings public as soon as the necessary information had been obtained from all the affected persons, groups and institutions.

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