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1 killed in Police-Shiites clash in Abuja

One person was allegedly killed yesterday in after members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, clashed with the police around the Unity Fountain in Abuja.
Last Friday, the FCT police command had announced a ban on protests at the Unity Fountain but IMN members assembled around the place yesterday but were prevented from gaining access.
The protesters were said to have stood their ground and when the police lost control of the crowd, they started firing gunshots into the air, which witnesses said killed a member of the movement.
When contacted, Anjuguri Manzah, spokesman of the FCT police command, said he could not confirm the incident as he had information on the attack.
Recall that Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT was on Thursday last week and yesterday put at a high risk of being attacked when members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN embarked on a peaceful rally to demand for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been in detention for some time and to celebrate their fallen heroes.
El-Zakzaky was arrested in 2015 following a bloody clash between his members and the Nigerian Army during which hundreds of the members, including his children were killed while he has remained in detention since then despite court order that he should be released.
The protesters said they were angry because neither the federal nor the Kaduna State government has sympathized with the IMN over the killings of its members while their spiritual leader still languishes in detention.
Unfortunately, the protest is coming after another bloody attack in some states of the Northern parts of the country where scores of people were killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents.
The protest by the thousands of IMN members led to a heavy traffic gridlock along Central Business District as motorists were stranded while some abandoned their vehicles on the roads.
The protesters took off from the popular Unity Fountain at Maitama and moved to the Ministry of Justice to remind the Attorney General of Federation of their demands and grievances over the continued detention of their spiritual leader.
The entire FCT was shut down by the protesters, who also occupied every available mosque in the capital city.
Again, yesterday the protesters stormed the popular Unity Foundation for their daily sit out protest over their detained leader, but resulted in the clash with security agencies who tried to stop them.
But security expert, Barrister Olu Olaiya said Boko Haram insurgents could have used the opportunity of such massive protest to attack the city, noting that security lapses in the country had helped the abduction of Chibok and Dapchi female students by Boko Haram insurgents in the recent past.
Olaiya said “the security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police Force should have gathered enough intelligence reports about the protest before members of the Islamic Movement who came from across the country gathered in Abuja”.
“Do you believe that some Boko Haram members could used the opportunity by joining them having put on their (IMN members) usual dress to wreck havoc on Abuja? I know it was God and prayers of the many Nigerians that is still saving us in this city, because our security agencies are not yet on top of the situation”, he submitted.
Speaking in the same vein, a civil right activist, Comrade Jude Okoro declared in an interview with our correspondent that “Nigerian authorities have failed in their responsibilities to protect the citizens and their properties, just as it has been proven in the cases of attacks by the BokoHaram and Fulani herdsmen in many parts of the country”.
“The kidnapping of girls from the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State in 2014 and another one from the Government Girls’ Technical College in Dapchi, Taraba State this year were examples of what we are saying.
“Before then, the Boko Haram members have involved in series of bombing public buildings, markets and worship centres, thereby killing many innocent people while many others are maimed at the end”, Okoro said.
Reacting to the massive protest, an Islamic scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Dogo said the Shiite members’ action does not breach any security protocol since they conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner.
He said “the horrible atrocities committed by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 in Zaria when they killed many unarmed members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria should be condemned by every Nigerian who has conscience. Worse still their leader is still being held by the authorities despite several protests and court order that he should be released”.

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This post was syndicated from Nigerian Pilot News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.


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