A Nigerian group in the United Kingdom has taken to the street of London, to demand the prosecution of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzakky for terror-related activities since he has been indicted by investigations into a faceoff between his group and the army in December 2015.
El-Zakzakky remained in detention since being arrested following the incident that made the military launch an operation to clear out members of his group who obstructed the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff and reportedly made an attempt on his life.
The Movement of the People of Nigeria, whose members protested at the Commonwealth Secretariat on Thursday, described the delay in arraigning the IMN leader as a mistake that has made his followers bolder and more dangerous.
The movement also slammed Iran for interfering in the affairs of Nigeria through its support for the IMN, which it described as a terror organisation with a demand that IMN members also be tried and their finances investigated for subversion for inviting Iranian intervention in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
UK Coordinator of the group, Joe Mayowa warned that the protests would spread to other world cities and major Nigerian cities if the federal government fails to immediately begin prosecution of El-Zakyzaky and other IMN leaders that were indicted by several reports on his group’s faceoff with the army last year.
In a speech read on behalf of the movement, Mayowa noted that the federal government had made similar mistake in the past when founding members of the Boko Haram terror group were not diligently prosecuted.
He said “It was that mistake that bred the blood-thirsty horde that carried out attacks in Abuja and some other cities in Nigeria. Nationals of Commonwealth nations were killed in those attacks. The decision not to prosecute pioneer Boko Haram members was driven by local politics but the fallout was felt by nationals of all nations on earth.
“A greater mistake is being made by not prosecuting members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) for their acts of violence against the state and against citizens of Nigeria and Commonwealth nations. The group’s 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.
“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.
“For the avoidance of doubt, events of December 2015, when IMN members made an attempt on the life of a senior administration official sparked off chains of events that proved the group is not to be treated with kid’s gloves. Those events exposed the fact that the IMN has the capacity to take on the Nigerian state in battle and would not shy away from attempting it if drastic measures that enjoy international support are not taken.
“The result of several investigations of those events is profound. They all want the prosecution of the IMN leader, Mr. Ibraheem El-Zakzaky 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-Zakzaky and his supporters for causing that injurious breach of the peace,” he stressed.
Mayo lamented that the IMN leader seems to be getting preferential treatment compared to other persons that have led insurgencies against the country, noting that “This situation has made his followers to rub salt in our collective injury. They have been made bold by the delay in prosecuting El-Zakzaky and those of his members found culpable by the reports.
“They have done everything from threatening more mayhem to almost implementing the threats under the cover of street protests. In the course of mobilising 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.
“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,” the group complained.
It appealed to the Commonwealth to convince the government to pursue El-Zakzakky’s trial with a warning that there should be no distinction in the type of crimes committed in the course of terrorism.