Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as the Shi’ites yesterday went on rampage, setting ablaze any government property they could sight.
The group said they were provoked to protest violently in response to several of their members killed and arrested recently by security agencies in Abuja because they were on peaceful protest to press for the release of their detained leader, Shiek Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.
Security agencies who got information of the planned protest had belatedly barricaded all the entry points to Abuja early Monday morning, screening every vehicle coming into the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
While the security caused untold pains to civil servants and those on private business coming to work due unparalleled traffic holdup at the outskirt entrepoints to the Abuja city center (Kugbo, Dei-Dei axis and Giri Junction), the seemingly smarter Shi’ite members had since taken position on strategic road juctions close to the Federal Secretariat and the Three Arms Zone, leading to the Presidential Villa.
At about 10am, the Shi’ites attacked every semblance of governance, including police traffic posts at road junctions, vehicles and solid structures that were vulnerable.
At the Federal Secretariat Complex, they set ablaze the Federal Fire Service Fire/Accident Emergency Outpost, burning down the two fire vehicles and other fire equipment in the structure.
They also destroyed all the Police traffic posts and smashed the windscreen of every government vehicle they came across to.
The pandemonium created by the attacks forced both pilice traffic wardens and regular policemen around the area to take to their heels.
It took some time before reinforcement could be mobilised by the FCT Police Command, which dispersed police teams to several parts of Abuja, arresting anyone they suspect is a Shi’ites member.
Calls put through to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Anguguri Mamza, was not picked. When one of his staff member later picked the calls, he said he will relay our enquiries to him for response. Mamza is yet to respond at the time of filing this report.
Recall that IMN have said the protests they have been organizing in Abuja were in response to government’s disregard to the judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja, ECOWAS Court and other courts which had ordered the release of el-Zakzaky from ‘Protective Custody’.
In a statement Sunday by Ibrahim Musa, Head of Media, IMN, they insisted that nobody should exonerate President Muhammadu Buhari from their leader’s continued detention, adding that the denials by the Special Assistant Media to the President, Garba Shehu that their leader’s freedom lies with the courts are blatant lies.
The group also condemned government’s refusal to abide by the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), calling for the arrest and prosecution of soldiers that carried out the killings of their members who they claimed were on peaceful movement in Zaria in December, 2016.