Tears flowed freely on Monday as hundreds of members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria ( IMN ) popularly known as ‘Shiites’ gathered in Abuja to honour their fallen heroes and martyrs killed by security operatives across the country.
The event which took place at 7 Uption Garden Garki, Abuja was marked in a sober reflection and emotions with portrait photographs of the deceased on display which includes children.
The Chairman of Shuhada Foundation, Sheikh Abdulhameed Bello who addressed a large crowd of supporters of Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky during the annual commemoration of the event said that the group has lost 998 members to the police and army brutality.
Bello stated that Shuhada foundation was formulated to cater for the orphans, widow, aged parents and family members left behind by the deceased. He added that the foundation sponsored the education of the children from nursery to university level.
According to him “We take care of the medical bills of anyone of them that is sick and have health challenges. We also take care of their welfare like marriage and celebration of salah programme. These martyrs as we are all aware those that were killed by either by Nigerian army and police “Bello stated.
He decried the attitude of the security agencies toward the activities of the movement stating that the group would not give up in its mandate to exercise its religion belief despite the intimidation by the security.
The protesters who are wielding the portraits photographs of the fallen members and chanting anti – government songs came from Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto , Nasarawa and Kebbi.
Members of the movement who are also victims of attacks who sustained gunshots injuries were seen walking with the aid of crutches.
A woman ( Hajiya Jumai Karofi ) who lost five children her five children in various attacks by the security operatives said that she remain resolute to cause of the movement adding that she cannot be deterred by the unfortunate incident that befallen her.
“Today we are commemorating and remembering our martyrs. I as a mother I have lost five of my children during the Zaria massacre and one of my son is carrying a bullet in his chest right now and also I have shot several times as you can see when I was coming they have to hold my hands because of the extent of my pain ” Karofi stated.
El-Zakyzaky was arrested and kept in the custody since December 2015 following a violent clash between the movement and Nigerian Army which many people lost their lives .
This piece first appeared in the Independent online Newspaper of 1st April, 2019. Written by Jide Oyekunle.