- Amnesty International said Nigerian authorities must adhere to the rule of law and respect the right to peaceful protest when policing these events
- The police command in the federal capital territory earlier said it arrested 115 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria ( IMN) during a violent protest in Abuja
- The group noted that Shiites gathered in Abuja were perfectly within their rights in demanding the release of their leader from a detention
Amnesty International on Tuesday, April 17, called on the federal government not to violate the rights of Nigerians who stage peaceful protests in the country.
The director of amnesty international in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho made this known in a statement while condemning the disruption of a protest by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in Abuja.
Channels TV reports that members of the group had stormed the Wuse area in the federal capital territory, to demand the release of their leader Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, from detention.
The Shiites were said to be moving towards the Berger junction area when they were intercepted by the police who allegedly fired water cannon and teargas, forcing the protesters to disperse.
Reacting to the incident, the Amnesty International boss said, ''This was a needless resort to violence by Nigerian police against a group of unarmed protestors.''
She said: ''Nigerian authorities must adhere to the rule of law and respect the right to peaceful protest when policing these events.''
Ojigho noted that Shiites gathered in Abuja were perfectly within their rights in demanding the release of their leader from a detention.
She said although there were reports that stones were thrown by some protestors, there was no excuse for the use of water cannon and tear gas, describing such as ''highly reckless tactics that could easily have resulted in fatalities.”
According to the Amnesty International boss, the arrest of 115 protesters is a worrying sign that the repression of the Shiites is set to continue.
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She, however, called on the federal government to release El Zakzaky and his wife, as well as investigate the reported killings on December 12- 14, 2015 in Zaria.
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention following a clash between his supporters and some soldiers in 2015, an incident Amnesty International alleged to have claimed at least 300 lives of the Shiites.
On December 2, 2016, the federal high court in Abuja ruled that El Zakzaky and Zeenah should be released within 45 days.
The court described their detention as illegal and unconstitutional and despite the deadline issued by the court which expired on 16 January, El-Zakzaky and his wife have yet to be freed.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that two members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria popularly known as Shiites were reportedly killed and several others injured during a clash with the officers of the Nigerian police in Kaduna state on Sunday, January 8.
Violence erupted when the police tried to disperse members of the Shiite protesting the continuous detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Three persons were wounded and have been taken to a hospital for treatment.
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