The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as the ‘Shiites’ has alleged that 28 of their members were killed by police bullets in Kaduna State in the last three years.
This was even as they distanced themselves from the alleged murder of a police man in their recent clash with the police.
Speaking at a news conference in the state on Saturday, in reaction to the recent claim by the police that the sect were responsible for the death of a police officer, a leader of the movement, Professor Abdullahi Danladi, said it was false and ridiculous.
He said: “It was all reported that a policeman was allegedly killed by the members of the sect, during the free Zakzaky procession. To back up the story, there was a video, supposedly of ‘Shiites’ lynching a policeman, that has gone viral on the internet.”
“This was to discredit us in order to turn the table against us. Thus, the reported killing of the policeman was the handiwork of some desperate people with the motive to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. It was the result of a joint handiwork of policemen and thugs.
“Reports reaching us also indicated that Police, in an unholy alliance with thugs called Civilian JTF, had planned a house-to-house attacks on certain targeted members of the Islamic Movement living in Kaduna.
“According to our sources, the police had assured the thugs of state backing and cover. “Nothing will happen to you,” they were told.
It distanced itself from this crude act. It was most certainly not by members of the Islamic Movement.
‘Through out our four decades of existence, the Islamic movement in Nigeria under Sheikh Zakzaky’s leadership had never resorted to violence even in the midst series of persecution of its members across the country. Why would anyone kill a policeman who is also a victim of bad governance?
“What time did they have to kill another soul? Since December 2015, on the streets of Kaduna alone, we had lost 23 members to police bullets, and at least five, this year alone. What have we done in response other than resort to Courts seeking the enforcement of our rights to peacefully protest?
“This desperate tactics of wanting to smear our name is nothing new. Any criminal activity done in the state, the police and authorities are quick to attribute to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria because of the hate it has for the Movement.
“A clear example was the kidnap of a soldier in Kaduna some years back, only for them to later disprove themselves.
“It is of great significance for the public to know that, members of the Movement in Kaduna are peaceful.
This piece was first published in the Tribune Newspaper on 24 June, 2018 written by Muhammad Saminu in Kaduna.