Shi’ites challenge ban today


Ibrahim El-Zakzaky: leader of the Shiites

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky: leader of the Shiites

The Shi’ite Islamic Movement in Nigeria has announced decision to file a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, to challenge its proscription by the Federal Government on Thursday.

The PUNCH reported that Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who has been defending the group’s leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and many of his followers in court since 2016, confirmed this to its correspondent on Wednesday shortly after the group announced its decision to suspend its street protests.

The group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, had in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, said the decision to suspend street protests being used to call for the release of El-Zakzaky; his wife and others, was to give room for “some new openings” into the resolution of the matter, including the court option.

Falana was reported to have confirmed that some Shi’ites’ leaders had consulted him and instructed his law firm to challenge the proscription order in court.

He said the suit would be filed on Thursday before the Federal High Court in Abuja, which issued the order of proscription.

“They (the Shi’ites leaders) consulted us and they reached an agreement with us to suspend protests in defiance to the legal action, which they instructed us to take.

“I can tell you that the suit will be filed tomorrow (today).” Falana was quoted to have said.

The statement informed that suspension of the street protests would give room for proper prosecution of the court case.

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“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria do hereby announce to the general public and the international community that it has temporarily suspended its Free Zakzaky street protests to allow for some new openings into the resolution of the problems, especially the court case instituted by our lawyers on the proscription order made by the Federal Government this week.

“It has taken this step in good faith out of respect for some eminent people and groups, whose input in the resolution of the problems appears genuine and we sincerely hope an amicable way could be found to solve the crises surrounding the illegal detention of our leader for almost four years now.

“If at all any protest occurs anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reached those in the field or this message is misunderstood or it is some security agents who are mischievously behind it as they have been doing in an attempt to smear our image and be seen as unruly people rather than as victims of savage oppression since 2015.

“The Islamic Movement wishes to thank both national and international civil rights activists and organisations who have been busy demanding the protection of our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.

“We also thank the press, both national and international, and the social media activists for the full coverage of our activities throughout the struggle for justice.

“We are committed to exploring the new openings we have seen in resolving this protracted issue.

“We, therefore, reiterate our demand that our leader, his wife, and several others in detention be given their freedom denied them since 2015″, the statement read.

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