Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria otherwise known as Shiite group has debunked allegation that it held residents of its stronghold and Zaria community hostage, saying it had instead added value to local economy of the community.
The group in a rejoinder signed by its president of Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, claimed that it was not a burden as portrayed.
It explained that in any gatherings of the Islamic sect in Zaria where at least three million members attend and every member spends at least N100, N300 is spread among the residents who claim to be placed under bondage.
According to the statement, “Contrary to the purported lies by the faceless group, his Eminence Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky had lived with Gyallesu residents in Zaria happily despite attempts by security operatives to cause disharmony at various times. This is evident from the way he exchanged pleasantries and gifts during festivities as can be attested from the movement’s websites over the years. He hosted Eid feast with many from far and wide, including Christians in attendance.
“Members of IMN have engaged in provision of free social services to the community, including water, sanitation and healthcare to neighbourhood, which had even extended to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika near Zaria, where the movement catered for patients stranded by health workers strikes on various occasions; hence it is absolutely mischievous and ridiculous for anyone to claim that residents have been placed under bondage for 20 years.
“More so, members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have over the years embarked on a campaign of voluntary blood donation at each of the Ashura programmes, not only in Zaria, and this could be testified to by the National Blood Transfusion Commission which had issued letters of acknowledgment every year for the past three years to the revered leader for such contribution to humanity. Who knows whether those soldiers that came to kill us or their relatives might have even been saved by our own blood in the past?
“It was not a coincidence that his house was a place of refuge when there was crisis in Zaria such as the election crisis of 2011. All the minority Christian population of his area ran to his house during the 2011 post election crisis for protection. All these are the facts that government is trying to obscure through bogey newspaper headlines and reports or interviews with security operatives posing as Zaria residents.
The group also clarified that its leader is not a sectarian and does not have or belong to any sect.
“Our attention has been drawn to headlines in major Nigerian newspapers of a news item on their front pages of Sunday, 27th December editions calling on the federal government to ban what they called ‘El-Zakzaky sect.’
“By the way major Nigerian newspapers carried this news item mostly on their front pages shows that it is a carefully calculated scheme by the perpetrators of the brutal Zaria massacre to further their evil agenda in Nigeria.
“The faceless group referred to as ‘Zaria residents’ has no identity and does not represent all the Nigerians resident in Zaria but the mischief of their sponsors to make such a proclamation that made front pages in most Nigerian dailies.
“We wish to make it clear to all that Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky does not have a ‘sect’ as they claimed and he has said it on countless occasions that he does not belong to any sect.
“He leads an Islamic Movement that has millions of Nigerians that included both Shi’ah and Sunni Muslims with warmly association with various Christian groups in Nigeria.
“To buttress this, IMN yearly commemorates the birth anniversary of Sheikh Uthman Ibn Fodio who was a great Islamic Reformer in the West African sub-region and a Sunni scholar and had spent millions of naira in the past 10 years producing a film on his life times which would be released soon.
“The IMN in the yearly AlQuds Day procession that draws attention to pathetic plight of oppressed Palestinian Muslims and Christians under inhuman Israeli occupation, where the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Muslims are Sunni Muslims, the IMN had staged yearly peaceful rallies in their support for the past 30 years.
“These have proved beyond doubt that the IMN under the leadership of Sheikh Zakzaky is not sectarian as these blind haters are trying to portray,” the statement however reads.


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