The Nigeria Opposition Coalition CUPP, has condemned the violent armed attack and use of deadly weapons by the Police against members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, protesters on Monday.
The coalition accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being responsible for the violent clashes between the police and members of the groups also known as Shi’tes, by his refusal to obey various court orders granting bail to their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The group has been protesting the continued detention of the leader despite court orders granting him bail.
It recalled that the first order granting bail to the Shi’ite leader was delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court Abuja in 2016.
El-Zakzaky has been in detention since 2015 and in spite of several court orders granting him bail, the federal government has refused to release him.
He is standing trial before a Kaduna High Court for culpable murder and breach of peace, among others.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the group described as untrue the recent statement by the Presidency that El-Zakzaky’s case was in court and therefore not within its control.
“For over two years, the Federal Government detained the Sheik and his wife against orders of court and there was no trial going on in Kaduna then,” Ugochinyere said.
CUPP raised alarm that the federal government was planning to proscribe the Movement, warning that doing so would be a recipe for birthing another violent gorilla group in the country.
“We hereby raise alarm and caution that the alleged planned proscription of Shiite Islam by the Buhari administration will lead to emergence of a violent gorilla group and worsen the already bad security situation. How could the Federal Government come up with the alleged mundane idea that the only way to remedy the situation is by proscribing the religion of over seven million ardent worshipers?
“Except President Buhari and his government have concluded arrangements on how to exterminate all Shiites in Nigeria, one wonders how he intends to achieve that without exacerbating the already bad security situation,” the statement said.
It further drew attention to the fact that the Shiites protests had always been peaceful until government resorted to brute and deadly force to stop them from exercising their fundamental rights.
The body condemned in strong terms the use of force by security agencies against unarmed protesters.
The statement further said: “We unequivocally condemn the use of lethal force by security agencies against the armless protesters. The Federal Government would have just released Sheik Zakzaky and his wife in line with order of Court and place him under watch. But unfortunately, the Government saw it that releasing the Sheik on the orders of court was a show of weakness. After several court orders to release Sheik Zakzaky was not heeded to, the Buhari led administration is directly responsible for the situation the country is facing today.
“While we commiserate with the families of the slain Deputy Commissioner of Police, we ask why it is reported that he fell to stray bullet thereby implying that he was shot by a Police officer and not by an armed Shiite. We also commiserate with Channels TV on the death of their cameraman and also all families of the several Shiites members who lost their lives.
“These deaths were avoidable and the tension in the country today is unnecessary.
“CUPP calls on Shiites members to refrain from violent reactions to the State actions and realize that their reaction will count against them and be used to make them lose public sympathy.
“We also call on President Buhari to direct similar force deployed against peaceful Shiites protesters on the murderous Boko Haram, bandits and herdsmen who have been creating tributaries of blood all around the country without any effective challenge from the security agencies.
“We call on all eminent Nigerians, leaders of thought and citizens to speak up now before it is too late. The El-Zakzaky issue has taken much more blood than necessary and must not be allowed to take any more. We are at the verge of the birthing a new armed extremist organization if this situation is further mismanaged
“Nigeria cannot survive another terror group as our security forces are already over stretched in the current operations they are involved in.”