Chris Steven, Abuja
Nigerians living in the United Kingdom on Thursday held a peaceful protest at the Commonwealth building in London, demanding the immediate and speedy prosecution of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky by the Federal Government.
The protesters said they decided to protest at the Commonwealth House because there are mistakes that the Commonwealth Nations must help Nigeria avoid repeating, adding that ensuring this is not just in the interest of Nigeria but in in the interest of global balance, of which the Commonwealth is part.
Speaking during the protest, the Co-ordinator, Joe Mayowa said a great mistake is being made by not prosecuting the Shiite members for their acts of violence against the state and against citizens of Nigeria and Commonwealth nations.
He said such kid gloves which the Nigerian government is treating the IMN scenario is what gave rise to the Boko Haram insurgency.
According to him, the Shiite members have mirrored every single crime committed by Boko Haram in its formative years yet nothing significant have been done to put its members on trial for breaching the peace in manners that resulted in the loss of life.
He said, “It may also not be a mistake, in which case the delay in prosecuting detained IMN leaders could be a silent plea for international backing by the Nigerian government. It is important the world is able to reassure the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that they have the world’s support for nipping the growing terror of IMN in the bud.
“A clear message must be sent to the government that the firmness with which it deals with the IMN threat is a matter global interest as any fallout from delay in dealing with the threat posed by the group will affect the whole world.
“The result of several investigations of those events is profound. They all want the prosecution of the IMN leader, Mr Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky and all those that supported him in that insurrection. The Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Nasir El-Rufai clearly indicted him and recommended him for prosecution. The report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHCR) specifically demanded an immediate trial of El-Zakyzaky and his supporters for causing that injurious breach of the peace.”
Mayowa said unfortunately, they have not seen the Nigerian authorities arraign El-Zakyzaky for the crimes committed against the nation.
He said, “We have not seen any of his followers that actively took part in unleashing violence on the Nigerian state being put on trial. What we have seen instead is El-Zakyzaky receiving five star treatment under the guise of be held in “protective custody”, he gets the best medical attention and protection that law abiding citizens can ill afford. Ordinary citizens that engage in street fights are dragged before the courts for breaching the peace but someone led his followers with weapons to overrun the streets and he is being feted.”
He explained that the delayed prosecution of El-Zakyzaky and those of his members found culpable by the reports has emboldened the IMN who have done everything from threatening from threatening more mayhem to almost implementing the threats under the cover of street protests.
The Coordinator said in the course of mobilsiing for these so called protests and trek, there are reports that fleeing Boko Haram fighters entered several Nigerian cities under the cover of IMN members, adding that they have also used the period to escalate their avowed commitment to undermining Nigeria’s sovereignty with their renewed invitation to the Islamic Republic of Iran to meddle in our internal affairs