The Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, has objected to the manner some of its members were treated by a Kaduna Magistrate Court at its first sitting, on Wednesday, February 10, in Kaduna Central Prison.
The group has objected the sitting in prison, saying the court ought to have offered the general public its reason for the unusual sitting in prison, but it did not.
“For the court to hide under the guise of ‘security reasons’ for it’s sitting in prison is a travesty of justice, since justice as they say, should not only be done, but seen to be done.
“We object to the trial becoming a secret trial because under the law, trial of the charges against the brothers of the Islamic Movement should be held in an open court where the public can witness it.
“What happened yesterday in Kaduna Prison is akin to a secret trial where the public was denied entry to the court proceedings,” the group said.
The IMN, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, also decried the charges levelled against its members, claiming they were trumped up.
According to the group, if it’s members had the kind of weapons as claimed by the prosecution, “the story of the massacre carried out by the Army in Zaria would have been an entirely different thing.”
“There would have been large casualties on the side of the attacking army as well but there isn’t.
“However the world is a witness to the fact that not even a single soldier died when the Army mercilessly descended upon unarmed civilians in Husainiyya Islamic Centre and the residence of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky,” it said.
The group accused the authorities of “trying by all means to frame up charges and produce manufactured evidences against the Islamic movement.”
“The fact that weapons are just being brought up for the first time in this matter suggests what the authorities are trying to do, why did it take the army this long to make it public?” the group queried.
It pointed out that the current allegations were contrary to the statements of General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, who led the operation and had announced on 3 occasions that brothers of the Islamic Movement had no weapons but catapults, machetes and sticks.
“He made this declaration again in another press conference where the Army made public their success in the fight against crimes in 2015.
“So from whom were the weapons taken to Lagos by the police confiscated? Surely its not from the brothers of the Islamic Movement.
“However we believe the public will not be deceive with this concocted lie, because brothers and sisters of the Islamic Movement have never and will never carry or possess any weapon.”