Yesterday a Magistrate Court that sat in Kaduna Central Prison read out some charges against the 191 brothers of the Islamic Movement that were languishing in jail for the past two months. Among the charges were illegal assembly, causing bodily harm, public disturbances and possession of firearms. The Islamic Movement objects to the way and manner the court had its first sitting in prison. 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. But more worrisome to us is the charge of possession of firearms labeled against the brothers. The prosecutor even said a large cache of arms was recovered from some of the brothers that had to be taken to Lagos for expert analysis. We believe this is a trumped-up charge brought up against the IMN.
It is pertinent to note that had the brothers been in possession of any weapon, 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. The fact that weapons are just being brought up for the first time in this matter suggests that the authorities are trying by all means to frame up charges and produce manufactured evidences against the Islamic movement. Why did it take the army this long to make it public?
Moreover, earlier, and on three occasions, the General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, who also proudly announced that he led the operation, declared 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. For the past almost forty years of the Movement’s history, we have never attacked anybody. We have always been at the receiving end, attacked by our detractors who are afraid of the growing numbers of followers of the Islamic Movement.
Also our leader Sheikh Zakzaky has said it many times that we only talk to the mind, but not kill the owner of the mind. We therefore reiterate our demand for their unconditional release, because they were just lucky to escape with their lives from the gruesome murder of the innocent carried out by the army in Zaria.
President Media Forum of the Islamic Movement