The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites, has threatened showdown if its leader, Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky, dies in detention.
In a statement by the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in Kaduna on Wednesday, August 31, it said the two lawyers – Sadau Garba and Bello Ibrahim, standing for Zakzaky before Department of State Services (DSS) are impostors.
The statement said: “We demand that our Leader and the wife be released unconditionally without delay.
“It will be a tragedy of monumental proportions should our leader go blind in detention or suffer further physical disability due to him being denied access to adequate medical attention,” the movement said without giving details.
“We understand those that sanctioned his detention and those detaining him want to humiliate him and make sure that he goes completely blind before he is eventually released thereby rendering him powerless the moment he is released from unconstitutional and illegal detention.
“The health of our leader and the wife continues to deteriorate on a daily basis and those holding him in custody are playing politics with his detention and that of his wife.
“We urge the Nigerian people and the international community to intervene in this crude violation of the fundamental rights of our leader.”
Speaking on the lawyers, the group said: “The Islamic Movement in Nigeria wants to make it clear that the said Sadau Garba and Bello Ibrahim can only be solicitors to the Department of State Services, with who they are in constant contact, and not that of the Movement or our revered leader. It is the Department of State Services that briefed the two and are giving them access to their facilities and encouraging them to pose as solicitors to our revered leader and urging them to write letters begging the Department to release our leader on compassionate grounds.
“On the basis of this dubious alliance the Department has been giving the two unrestricted access and have been sending out dubious feelers that they will release our revered leader to the family the moment they are begged by the two to do so.
“We recall that the said Sadau Garba has in the past attempted to swerve the course of the case involving Sheikh’s fundamental rights by claiming that that Sheikh told him that the DSS should be excluded from the matter as one of the respondents in the case which turned out to be contrived by those that briefed him.”
It continued: “We want to make it abundantly clear that that the said Sadau Garba and Bello Ibrahim are not solicitors to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and have not been briefed by our leader to represent him in any of the cases pending in court.
“The said Sadau Garba and Bello Ibrahim are acting a script carefully contrived by those holding our revered leader and their claim to being our solicitors and that of our leader is baffling, erroneous, and mischievous and amounts to professional misconduct.
“The two solicitors have been set up by the enemies of the Movement to give the impression that there is doubt as regards the true solicitors of the Movement and Shaikh and further prolong the detention of our leader.
“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria therefore makes it abundantly clear that Femi Falana, SAN is the leader of the Legal Team and ably assisted by Festus Okoye Esq and Maxwell Kyon Esq.”
Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015 following a clash between between the Nigerian Army and Shiite members, leaving scores dead.