The Department of State Services has said that the leader of the Shiite group in Nigeria, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, is alive and well, contrary to rumours making the rounds, especially on social media that he died Thursday.
El-Zakzaky has been in government detention, with his wife Zeenah, for two years though court orders have issued for his release to no avail.
DSS spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, said in a text message (sms): “The rumour of the death of El-Zakzaky earlier in the day(Thursday) wasn’t true…he DID NOT die…”…
But the Shiite group, known in Nigeria as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) alleged that it is security agents that are spreading the false information and rumours about their leader’s death, to break the will of its members and causing confusion, “so that they could seize the opportunity to turn its peaceful protests into violence.”
It adds, “Credible reports have confirmed that hoodlums have been commissioned by the authorities to foment trouble by burning tyres and property in the course of our peaceful processions. Part of their evil plot involves spreading false news of the alleged death of our leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, due to illness, on fake Facebook profile pages.”
IMN spokesman, Mallam Ibrahim Musa in Kaduna alleged that the agencies hoped to achieve “their mischievous aims by wreaking havoc and attributing the same to supposed reaction of members of the Islamic Movement.”
“When all their evil machinations failed woefully, they went wild and opened fire on peaceful protesters that were demanding the immediate release of Sheikh El-Zakzaky to enable him to attend to his deteriorating health,” Muss added.
“This police fury followed their inability to cash in on the effects of such fake news and reports they have circulated on social media to incite violence to discredit the Islamic Movement.
“The Islamic Movement will like to reiterate its age-long stand of adopting peaceful means in pursuing its objectives. We vehemently reject any attempt to label us as violent. We are so orderly than for anybody to incite us into taking illogical violent means. We would not be held responsible for anything contrary to our peaceful resolve and methods,” the statement said further.
A security source, however, accused IMN of doing exactly what the group accused it of. He suggested they put out the false information to draw sympathy as a prelude to a mega protest.
“It is a strategy, I think they want to have a mega protest…If you are sending messages like this, you attract sympathy,” the source said.