Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Shi’ites pull out of Zaria clash probe

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has pulled out of the probe by the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate clashes between its members and the Nigerian Army in Zaria in December last year.
The IMN legal team which had been making what it called conditional appearances at the commission said henceforth, it would discontinue all forms of appearances, just as it would not submit any memo to the commission.
One of the leaders of the team, Festus Okoye, told newsmen in Kaduna yesterday that his team would not allow itself to be used to legitimize what he described as a predetermined agenda against the movement and its leader.
He said the team initially thought it could lend its support to the movement to tell the Nigerian public and the international community its own version of the clash but that all efforts to get a proper briefing from the leader of the movement, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, had been unsuccessful.
“The legal team has resolved that in the light of the realities of lack of access, briefing and representation for the movement, the most honourable thing to do is to withdraw completely from appearance before the commission in whatever form and manner and to cease any form of representation in whatever form or manner for the movement,” he said.
Okoye blamed the commission for the decision, saying while the lawyers chose to appear before it out of respect, the commission attempted to use the appearances to make them submit a memo even when it was clear that they had not been briefed.
“From the inception of the commission, we made it clear that we appeared out of respect, we also made it clear that Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as well as its spokesperson and custodian of its property. We therefore consider it out of place for the commission to turn around and claim that it is satisfied that the team of lawyers has been properly briefed by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria,” he said.
Okoye said since the legal team had not been allowed access to the leader, it cannot in good conscience continue to appear on his behalf.
He said the IMN would however explore alternative means of letting Nigerians know the truth. 

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