Wednesday, March 23, 2016 6:16 am
*DSS fails to provide access to Sheikh Ibraheem El Zakzaky
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has announced its withdrawal from participation at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Dec. 12, 2015 Shiite/Nigeria Army clash in Zaria.
Mr Festus Okoye, lead counsel to the Islamic sect also known as Shiite Movement, made the announcement while addressing journalists on Tuesday in Kaduna.
Okoye said that the legal team had resolved to withdraw from participation at the panel.
He said the decision was due to inability of the defence team to gain access to the leader of the movement, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, being held at the DSS headquarters.
“The legal team of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria will not be used and will not allow itself to be used to legitimise a pre-determined position and agenda against the leader of the Movement.
“The legal team thought it could lend its support to the movement to tell the Nigerian public and the international community its own version of the events of Dec. 12 to Dec. 14, 2015.
“But, all efforts aimed at getting proper briefing from the leader of the Islamic Movement met a brick wall.
“The legal team has resolved that in the light of the realities of the lack of access, briefing and representation for the movement, it must take a decision on the way forward.
“In this case, the most honourable thing to do is to withdraw completely from appearance before the commission in any form and manner.
“The Islamic Movement of Nigeria believes that the Nigerian people are entitled to know the truth of what happened in Zaria and Kaduna.
“And the movement will explore alternative means and avenues for letting them know,” Okoye said.
The commission was set up by the Kaduna State Government on Jan. 29 to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the clash between the Islamic sect and the Nigerian Army.
The panel had been mandated to submit its findings and recommendations to government within six weeks.
Meanwhile, the Justice Muhammad Lawal Garba, panel on Monday adjourned sitting till Wednesday.
Lawal Garba had said the adjournment was for the defence counsel to meet with the sect leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, in custody of DSS.
He said the adjournment followed assurances from DSS that the defence counsel would be given access to their client by 12 noon on Monday.
The panel had on Monday, March 17 mandated the Islamic Movement of Nigeria to submit a memorandum on March 21.
The commission said the memorandum would form the basis for the sect’s appearance before it.
Lawal-Garba on Monday announced that the panel would hear the memorandum of the Nigerian Army on March 23.