The Islamic Movement in Nigeria said its attention has been drawn to the statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Department of State Services, Dr. Peter Afunanya, “misdirecting” the Nigerian public into believing that the continued “illegal” detention of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky; former National Security Adviser, retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki; and Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, was based on their choices.
The IMN stated its position on Saturday following Friday’s statement by Afunanya that the men decided on remaining in the custody of the DSS instead of being taken to the prisons.
The IMN said in the statement by the President of its Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa: “In response to this act of mischief and deliberate blackmail, the Movement hereby wishes to put the points straight as regards the detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
“We outrightly refute this false and reckless accusation against the illegally detained leader of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Zakzaky.
“Following the attack on the Islamic Movement by the Muhammadu Buhari regime in December 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna state, where over 1000 unarmed men, women and children members of the Movement were extra judicially killed by the Nigerian Army, seeking for redress in the most civil manner, the Islamic Movement sued for the enforcement of the rights of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) who was shot severally, abducted and detained by the DSS. The case was heard by Justice Gabriel Kolawale and lasted a year, while the DSS made efforts to justify the illegal detention but all to no avail.
“On the 16th of December 2016, the Federal High Court in Abuja issued a judgement enforcing the fundamental rights of the revered leader of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Zakzaky (H) in which the DSS, also a respondent in the case, was instructed by the court to unconditionally release the revered Sheikh to which it acted in total contempt of court and blatantly disregarded the court’s judgement.
“He was continuously held in illegal detention by the DSS, disallowed access to medical treatment and fed poison. This gave birth to a regime of peaceful protests within and outside Nigeria calling on Nigerian government to respect the court and release the revered leader. Several peaceful protesters were killed in their hundreds by police, army and DSS on different occasions on the streets of Nigeria.
“This act of disregard to law and order grossly affected the image of the Buhari regime which is tagged as tyrannical and undemocratic by a lot of concerned individuals, groups and governments.
“In trying to justify the continued illegal detention of the Sheikh, the government concocted cropped up charges and instituted a new case against Sheikh Zakzaky (H) in a Kaduna High court. The charges were the same made against Islamic movement members out of which almost about a hundred were earlier discharged and acquitted by the Kaduna High Court.
“The revered Sheikh was then transferred from Abuja DSS detention facility to Kaduna DSS detention facility using it as alibi for the continued illegal detention.
“Due to the Sheikh’s deteriorating health condition as confirmed by government doctors, the Kaduna High Court granted an order allowing the Sheikh to sponsor himself for medical treatment in India with the government only inspecting and not interfering. Here too, the government set up vendetta and scuttled the medical trip insisting that he must allow himself to be treated in India by doctors he had never seen or known and had no confidence in. It was only logical that he refused to be treated by doctors provided by those plotting to kill him back home in Nigeria lest they kill him in India and frame a fake story as they have always done. It is better to return to Nigeria and die in their detention for the world to know exactly who killed him.
“Against this background we wish to reiterate that the actions of the DSS are contrary to the laws establishing them because they have turned themselves into machinery used in implementing the whims and caprices of suppressive leaders instead of the interest of the country whose tax payers pay their bills.
“Indeed the time tested axiom of Sheikh Usman Fodio that ‘conscience is an open wound and only the truth can heal it,’ does not fit the statement issued by the DSS, for indeed falsehood can never heal the wound of conscience. We challenge the DSS to allow the Sheikh to speak to the public on whether he chose to stay with them or not. It is pure deceit for them to speak on his behalf!
“At this juncture, we also challenge the DSS to prove us wrong by simply respecting and obeying court orders and judgment and not the whims of those in authority by simply releasing those the courts have ordered to be released. The level of disregard to law and order the DSS is seen to have attained is totally alien to their rules of engagement and to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is therefore pertinent that fairness and justice be allowed to reign and this can only be attained through obedience to law and order.”