Suhaila, the daughter of Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has discountenanced a statement from the leader of the Media Forum of the Shiite movement saying the group had suspended street protests.
The members of the group had initiated daily street protests in Abuja and other major cities in the country to push for the release of their leader and his wife, Zeenat, detained since 2015, in the aftermath of clashes between the group and soldiers in Maria, Kaduna State.
The street protests claimed the lives of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, a journalist, and at least 11 members of the group.
In a video published on Facebook, she said: “Even as I speak right now, earlier today, there was a protest in Abuja and there will be tomorrow, and there will continue to be on every weekday.
“I just wanted to clarify because I saw news agencies stating that spokesperson of this movement released the statement.
“First of all, the Islamic movement has no such thing as a spokesman. And the person who wrote this article (is) the chairman of the media forum; the media forum, just like the numerous forums we have in the Islamic movement, is just a forum that is there for people within that field to have their own space and activities within the Islamic movement.”
“This person has nothing to do with the people organising this protest that have been going on in Abuja and will continue to go on till El-Zakzaky is freed.”
The new development has short-lived the relief of some Abuja residents who expressed happiness at Wednesday’s announcement by the Movement’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa.
Musa had announced hinting at reconciliation moves: “The Islamic Movement in Nigeria do hereby announce to the general public and the international community that it has temporarily suspended its Free Zakzaky street protests to allow for some new openings into the resolution of the problems, especially the court case instituted by our lawyers on the proscription order made by the federal government this week.
“It has taken this step in good faith out of respect for some eminent people and groups, whose input in the resolution of the problems appears genuine and we sincerely hope an amicable way could be found to solve the crises surrounding the illegal detention of our leader for almost four years now.
“If at all any protests occur anywhere in the country, it might be this notice hasn’t reach those in the field or this message is misunderstood or it is some security agents who are mischievously behind it as they have been doing in an attempt to smear our image and be seen as unruly people rather than as victims of savage oppression since 2015.
“The Islamic Movement wishes to thank both national and international civil rights activists and organizations who have been busy demanding the protection of our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.
“We also thank the press, both national and international, and the social media activists for the full coverage of our activities throughout the struggle for justice.
“We are committed to exploring the new openings we have seen in resolving this protracted issue. We therefore reiterate our demand that our leader, his wife and several others in detention be given their freedom denied to them since 2015”8